Miloš Zeman says he would not meet the Dalai Lama if he were elected Czech president in a vote that takes place on Friday and Saturday. In a debate with his opponent Karel Schwarzenberg held by the think tank European Values on Tuesday, Mr. Zeman said he would only meet the Tibetan spiritual leader if he himself were a religious leader, or if the Dalai Lama was a big investor. For his part, Mr. Schwarzenberg said his rival’s position was an acceptance of Chinese propaganda. While the late Václav Havel repeatedly met the Tibetan spiritual leader, his successor as president, Václav Klaus, has consistently refused to meet him since he was prime minister in the 1990s.
The government has approved a draft amendment that would strip lawmakers who are incarcerated or in custody pending trial of their government salaries and benefits. The proposal by the leading government party, the Civic Democrats, is based on the premise that senators or MPs cannot fulfill their mandate from jail. The opposition Social Democrats believe that the Constitutional Court would strike down the law if were to pass through Parliament. The only MP that has been sentenced to jail time so far this term is the former Civic Democrat Roman Pekárek. The Social Democrat David Rath is awaiting trial on corruption charges.
The average daily concentration of dust particles in the air exceeded the permitted limit of 50 micrograms per square meter in all regions of the country on Wednesday. In more of the measuring stations the daily average is around twice the permitted amount. Meteorologists have issued a smog alert in the Moravia-Silesian region on Monday, and in the Ústí nad Labem region on Wednesday. The regional administrations have ask residents to limit car use as much as possible. People with chronic lung or heart problems, young children and seniors are being asked to refrain from strenuous physical activity outdoors.
The chairman of the disciplinary committee of Czech Football Association Jiří Golda has stepped down on Wednesday in protest against the FA’s decision to suspend the investigation of referee bribing. The association has decided to let the police investigate the allegations. FA’s chairman Miroslav Pelta who suggested the move said that the police are better prepared for dealing with corruption cases.
An Albanian regulator on Monday voted to revoke the distribution license of a loss-making unit of the Czech energy giant CEZ. It is also holding the company liable for failing to import electricity into the Balkan state and not investing in its power grid. CEZ plans to contest the move and will demand compensation in a court of arbitration. The decision is the latest move in a long-running battle between CEZ and Tirana over power imports and prices.
The largest party in the government, the Civic Democrats, have put forward a list of 10 priorities ahead of talks on revising a coalition agreement with partners TOP 09 and LIDEM. Many of the demands concern ideas to foster growth in the Czech economy. One of the Civic Democrats’ two negotiators, Transport Minister Zbyňek Stanjura, said the party was putting an emphasis on slimming down elements of the civil service and merging different agencies. Representatives of the three parties are expected to meet on Tuesday and Thursday this week.
The veteran Czech film director Jiří Menzel has just completed work on his latest film. The picture, which will reach Czech cinemas at the end of May, is named “Donšajni”, which means “Don Giovannis”, and is about a group in a small town putting on a production of the opera. Menzel’s previous credits include the Oscar-winning Closely Observed Trains and I Served the King of England.
The Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Union, has rejected an appeal by the Czech brewer Budějovický Budvar against the use of the trademark Bud by the international beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the maker of Budweiser. In a statement on Tuesday, the EU’s second highest court said Anheuser-Busch InBev NV could register the trademark Bud because of its insignificant use in France and Austria. The decision is the latest development in a legal battle that has been running in several territories for many years.
A Czech judge accused of corruption should not have those charges dropped under a presidential amnesty, according to Prague’s chief prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová, the newspaper Právo reported. Ústi nad Labem bankruptcy judge Jiří Berka was cleared under a section of the amnesty that halts prosecutions in cases running for over eight years for which the maximum term is 10 years. The prosecutor says as Judge Berka’s alleged crime was committed as part of a criminal conspiracy the maximum term would have been increased by one third – making him ineligible for the controversial amnesty announced by President Václav Klaus on New Year’s Day. An official from the Prague chief prosecutor’s office has filed a complaint against the halting of the case.
The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has again failed to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open, after losing 1-6 6-4 1-6 4-6 to world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia in Melbourne on Tuesday. It was the third time in a row that Berdych was knocked out in the last eight stage of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur
Divided by Freedom – Large-scale Czech Radio survey finds six social classes in Czech society