One of the nine first-round presidential candidates, Vladimír Franz, has announced that he will vote for Miloš Zeman in the second round of the election this weekend. Though he did tell his voters that he will not recommend which candidate they should vote for. He also said that his choice is not an explicit endorsement of the candidate. He told the website iDnes.cz that Mr Zeman seems “more readable” to him than his opponent Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Mr Franz, who is a composer and a university professor, finished fifth in the first round with less than seven percent of the votes. The third-place candidate Jan Fischer had indirectly supported Miloš Zeman as well on Monday.
The annual celebration of the beginning of the Chinese lunar New Year with the Czech actor Jaroslav Dušek and the Chinese singer Feng-yun Song has begun on Thursday afternoon at Prague’s Palác Akropolis music venue. The Chinese New Year is celebrated this year on February 10-11. An exhibition of traditional martial arts and ethnic dances as well as a musical performance were planned for the day. The organizers will hold the show in four other Czech cities in the next few days.
Two more people have died as a result of the flu on Wednesday in southern Bohemia, bringing the total number of flu-related deaths this season in the Czech Republic to 33. Around 170 have been hospitalized this season with severe flu symptoms. The last two victims were men who had been treated for chronic illnesses. The Chief Hygiene Officer Vladimír Valenta had said that 60 percent of people how have fallen ill with the flu this season are extremely overweight. Hospitals are giving sever patients antiviral medication.
A principal of a school in the town of Bor near Tachov in the Plzeň region has shot himself, the iDnes news website reported on Wednesday afternoon. According to the police spokesperson it was most likely a suicide, since the thirty-five-year-old man allegedly left a letter. The school where he was from had made it into the headlines last year, when one of its teachers and a former regional head of the Civic Democratic Party Vladimír Dub was given a four-year suspended sentence for having sexual relations with an underage student.
The Prague Municipal Court judge has submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court to rule on the constitutionality of the whole of the amnesty that was issued by President Václav Klaus on 1 January. The petition deems the entire amnesty as unconstitutional mainly on the basis that it was not discussed by all the members of the government. The amnesty was signed by the president and countersigned by the prime minister. Apparently, the only other member of the government who knew about the amnesty before it was announced was the Justice Minister Pavel Blažek. The Municipal Court asked the Constitutional Court to either strike the amnesty down in its entirety or, as an alternative solution, to strike down a provision that halted some long running criminal cases.
Last year the most watch film in theatres in the Czech Republic was not a local production – it was Ice Age 4. The family friendly cartoon drew in just over 670 thousand viewers in the movie theatres. The Czech film You Kiss Like the Devil came in second with around 501 thousand viewers. The next few spots down on the list also belonged to foreign films. The year before, the top spot was taken by Muži v nadějí, or Men in Hope, that was seen by over 850 000 moviegoers. Nonetheless, 2012 saw 400 thousand more people go to the movies in the Czech Republic than in the previous year.
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.
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