The Czech state budget deficit grew to 47.7 billion crowns in October from September´s 38.2 billion, according to a Finance Ministry report released on Friday. It is the best result for October since 2008. The state budget deficit for 2013 has been projected at 100 billion crowns but Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok said last month that thanks to money from EU funds, the budget gap this year could be much lower than projected.
There is controversy at Czech public television following claims of censorship made by a number of employees. Twenty-one journalists, including the news deputy head Adam Komers have sent a letter of complaint to the Czech TV council, claiming that news bulletins and current affairs reports are censored in favour of President Miloš Zeman and the Party of Citizens’ Rights –Zemanites. Meanwhile over 60 others, including the stations most popular current affairs anchor Vaclav Moravec, have disputed the claims signing a proclamation in which they rule out any manipulation or pressure. The head of Czech public television Petr Dvorak has said he will get independent auditors to investigate the matter.
The police on Thursday arrested former transport minister and Public Affairs leader Vít Barta together with the head of the information division of the anti-corruption police Jan Petržílek. According to the internet news site Ceskapozice.cz the arrests were made in connection with an ongoing investigation into information leaks from the ranks of the police. Earlier speculation in Novinky.cz which broke the story that the arrests were linked to the appointment of Petr Lessy police president has proved unsubstantiated.
Police in Blackburn say they prevented a sham marriage between a Pakistani man and a Czech woman on Thursday. The Pakistani whose residence permit in Great Britain had expired is to be deported. The 25-year-old Czech woman was released after undergoing police questioning. Six Czech nationals were detained in Wolverhampton this week on suspicion of being part of a sham marriage ring in the UK.
The South Moravian branch of the Social Democrats will meet on Monday to discuss the fate of three of the five party rebels who publicly lied about a meeting with President Miloš Zeman at which they are believed to have planned to oust party leader Bohuslav Sobotka. The attempt to remove Mr. Sobotka from the head of the party failed and the rebels involved were publicly humiliated. The governor of South Bohemia Jiří Zimola has already resigned from the party leadership, the others say they want to defend themselves on home ground and will respect the recommendation made by their regional party branch.
The Interior Ministry wants to station specially trained police officers in the country’s slums, according to a report presented to the government on Friday. The move comes in the wake of rising petty crime in poverty-ridden areas of the country and growing tension between its inhabitants and the majority population. There are presently between 300 and 400 slums in the Czech Republic with an estimated 80,000 inhabitants, the greater part of them Romanies. It is not clear how many specialists would be needed but the ministry envisaged training around 50 a year.
The late Jiří Hájek, a leading member of the Czech dissent and one of the first spokespersons of Charter 77 was not decorated on October 28th as planned because his son refused to take part in the official ceremony and to receive the decoration from President Miloš Zeman, the Office of the President confirmed on Friday. The president’s spokeswoman said the president considered Jíří Hájek Jr’s request that it should be sent by post insulting. Hájek Jr made it clear that he did not want to participate in the prize-awarding ceremony at the Prague Castle because he was critical of President Zeman's activities. Rock singer and musician Vladimir Mišík also refused to receive the state decoration from the president.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, spent Wednesday night in hospital
because of a knee injury. The head of a team of doctors looking after Mr
Zeman, Health Minister Martin Holcát, said that following an accident,
blood had swelled in the president’s knee and required neurological
tests. Those have since confirmed that Mr Zeman will have to use a
wheelchair and rest up for several weeks. Consequently, he was advised to
cancel planned foreign trips. On Thursday, Mr Zeman was released from
hospital care and
for the presidential chateau in Lány.
Regarding the cause of the accident, the health minister explained that the president had stumbled in the dark at night while heading for the bathroom; he said alcohol had not been a factor, which lab tests had confirmed. Mr Zeman is a heavy smoker who suffers from diabetes; doctors needed to take steps to minimalise potential threats, such as thrombosis or lung embolism.
Social Democratic Party deputy leader Michal Hašek, who admitted to lying
publicly this week about a secret post-election with President Miloš
Zeman, made clear on Wednesday he would not step down. He and other senior
Social Democrats Zdeněk Škromach, Jeroným Tejc and Jiří Zimola all
with the president at a secret meeting last weekend; Mr Hašek had
maintained such a meeting never took place.
Following Wednesday’s admission, the party’s chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that either he or Mr Hašek would have to go and said a meeting of the party’s executive committee (set for November 10) would resolve the matter. Mr Hašek, in reaction, compared developments within the Social Democratic Party to a “witch hunt”. On Thursday, he himself apologised and said he would weigh possible steps on November 10.
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