The government passed its proposal for next year’s state budget, outgoing Finance Minister Jan Fischer has confirmed. In its draft budget, the Rusnok cabinet is counting on a deficit of 112 billion crowns next year. According to the finance minister, the deficit should not exceed three percent of GDP. The deficit was raised by two billion crowns from the initial proposal put forward by Mr Fischer. The draft budget has already been criticised by former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek who had proposed a deficit of seven billion crowns less prior to the collapse of the previous government.
Czech President Miloš Zeman will not take part in the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the president’s spokeswoman Hana Burianová confirmed. The spokeswoman told the Czech News Agency the president believed it was up to the prime minister to attend events such as the U.N. summit and not the task of the head-of-state. The stance is in sharp contrast to that of Mr Zeman’s predecessor Václav Klaus, who regularly attended U.N. General Assembly meetings. Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok, the head of the country’s interim government, will attend after flying to the United States on Wednesday.
President Miloš Zeman has said he will push for the country’s entrepreneurs to contribute to reducing the country’s national debt, in return for privileges such as taking part in the president’s business missions abroad. The president himself announced shortly after taking office that he would send part of his monthly salary to a special account set up for that purpose. The country’s national debt now stands at more than 1.6 trillion crowns.
The case against three managers of the fraudulent construction firm H-system will not be reopened. The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the broad amnesty announced by then president Václav Klaus at the start of 2013 applies to the case, rejecting an appeal by the prosecution. The H-system construction firm promised people affordable housing but instead stripped them of nearly one billion crowns. The case was halted under the amnesty since it lasted more than eight years. Paradoxically, this was due to an appeal by the state prosecutor who was unhappy with the suspended sentences handed to the three managers by a lower-level court.
Two-thirds of respondents in a poll conducted by the STEM agency said they trusted Olomouc state attorney Ivo Ištvan, overseeing a highly-publicised case which led to the resignation of the former prime minister and the fall of the centre-right government in June. Only 38 percent, however, expressed confidence that any of those charged in the spying and corruption scandal would be found guilty. The wife of former prime minister Petr Nečas, Jana Nečasová (formerly Nagyová, who was the then prime minister's chief-of-staff), is one of those charged, along with Roman Boček, an ex-deputy to a former MP; charges against three former MPs suspected of corruption were halted earlier by the Supreme Court.
The police will not renew charges against former industry and trade minister Martin Kocourek, or his mother, who had been suspected of having tried to keep the politician’s wife in the dark about 16 million crowns in his keeping during their divorce. The decision to shelve the case is not final yet; the case will still be reviewed by the state attorney, police spokesman Zdeněk Chalupa said. Investigators from the anti-corruption unit were originally interested in learning more about the funds to uncover whether they stemmed from illegal activity.
The country’s Defence Ministry is selling off computers, receivers, as well as spare parts for tanks and armoured vehicles, according to the Czech News Agency. The head of the section overseeing sales, Josef Lachman, confirmed that items were being sold “as is” – some used, broken or damaged. Potential buyers can view items before putting money down. Some 130 tank motors are also on offer, along with monitors and other electronic items. Also being sold is property worth an estimated 162 million crowns.
Customs officers stopped a motorist travelling with her two-month-old baby in Cheb and found three-quarters of a kilogram of the Czech drug pervetin on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the Customs Bureau revealed. Suspicious behaviour on the mother’s part prompted officers to search the vehicle with a sniffer dog. The drug was found in a bag hidden among a pack of diapers. The street value has been estimated at around 750,000 crowns. Customs officers have passed the case on to the criminal police.
Legendary Czech footballer Josef “Pepi” Bican, who died in 2001, has been named to the Czech F.A.’s Hall of Fame. The striker, who played for Slavia Prague, was inducted on the date of what would have been his 100th birthday. Originally, Bican’s name was to have been added in 2012, but the move was originally blocked by his son, on the grounds that persecution of his father by the former communist regime had not been acknowledged by the football association. The association’s head, Miroslav Pelta, addressed the past and apologised earlier this year.
Philadelphia Flyers hockey forward Jakub Voráček left his club’s pre-season game against the New Jersey Devils after suffering injury on a play in the second period. Voráček was hooked on a breakaway and hit the net. He was awarded a penalty shot but couldn’t stuff the puck past Corey Schneider. He left for the showers soon after. The club’s manager confirmed later that the upper-body injury was not serious.
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