Twenty-four of the total 34 soldier set to take part in a EU mission in Mali left Prague on Saturday morning. Czech troops will first be guarding the base for the EU training mission and later will also be helping in the training of Malian soldiers. This is the first operation in Africa for the Czechs. They will be spending a total of 15 months in Mali.
Former presidential candidate Jiří Dienstbier lost his post as deputy
chairman of the Social Democratic Party to the governor of the Plzeň
region, Milan Chovanec, at the party congress in Ostrava. The vote on
Friday night confirmed the other former deputy chairs - Zdeněk Škromach,
Lubomír Zaorálek, Martin Starec.
After a second round of voting at the party congress, Alena Gajdůšková was elected as a deputy chairwoman of the party. The Social Democratic Party’s rules party’s rules require that at least one of the deputy chair-people must be a woman. Ms Gajdůšková, who is also the first deputy chairwoman of the opposition-controlled senate, beat out the former deputy chairwoman of the party Marie Benešová.
Gabriela Soukalová claimed her third victory this season on Saturday at the Biathlon World Cup in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. The 23-year-old won the women’s 10K pursuit with two penalties, ahead of Russia’s Olga Vilukhina and Norway’s Olympic champion Tora Berger. Soukalová had also come first in the sprint on Thursday evening. Her first victory of the season, and the first World Cup gold of her career, came this past December when she won the women’s sprint in Slovenia.
The shadow finance minister Jan Mládek announced that if his party, the Social Democrats, will come to power after the parliamentary elections in 2014, they will introduce a progressive personal income tax with a highest rate of 38 percent of the gross salary. Speaking at the Social Democratic congress on Saturday, Mr Mládek said the Social Democrats will raises corporate taxes from 19 to 21 percent, and create a special 30-percent tax for large financial, energy and telecommunication companies.
The Social Democrats voted down a proposal to repeal a resolution that prohibits the party from creating a governing coalition with the Communist Party. Although the proposal received the support of only nine delegates at the party congress, the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka has indicated in the past that he would consider forming a minority government with the support of the communists. The largest opposition party is currently expected to win the next parliamentary elections.
A plaque commemorating former Czechoslovak president and general Ludvík Svoboda was unveiled in his hometown of Hroznatín in the Vysočina region on Saturday. A few hundred people attended the ceremony to commemorate soldiers of the First Czechoslovak Army Corp, which Svoboda commanded and which fought alongside the Soviet Red Army on the Eastern Front during World War Two. This week marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the battle of Sokolovo, during which Soviet and Czechoslovak troops were able to stop the German army’s advance into eastern Ukraine.
Speaking in front of the delegates at the Social Democratic congress on Saturday morning, the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said that in the case of victory in the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Czech Social Democrats should consider forming a government without other parties, as his own party Smer decided to do after the 2012 elections. The Smer chairman emphasized that in order to overcome the current crisis, Europe needs to ascribe more to true social democratic values.
Viktoria Plzeň have been knocked out of the Europa League, the continent’s second-tier club competition, in the last 16 stage. The Czech club went into Thursday night’s game against Fenerbahce trailing 1:0 from the home leg in West Bohemia last week. After the Turkish side took the lead in the first half in Istanbul, Plzeň managed to get one back through a Vladimír Darida strike on 61 minutes to give themselves some hope of advancing. However, they were unable to find the net again and the second leg ended 1:1, giving Fenerbahce a 2:1 win on aggregate.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has no news of two Czech tourists who had been kidnapped in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, a spokeswoman for the ministry said. The ministry has set up a crisis team to deal with the situation but has received no concrete information from Pakistani authorities of the whereabouts of the two women, or who could have kidnapped them. Friends and family of the abducted Czech travellers have meanwhile set up an internet website in their support.
MP David Rath, who has been in police custody since last May on corruption charges, remains in detention after the prosecutors filed an appeal against a Prague court ruling to release him on a two-million-crown bail. The appeal will be heard by an appellate court in the coming weeks. David Rath, a former influential Social Democrat and governor of Central Bohemia, was arrested in May 2012 with seven million crowns of what the police believe was a bribe. He is facing 11 years in jail for bribery and abuse of power.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech rock climber Adam Ondra knocked out of World Cup in Japan
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’