The Facebook page of a group that makes fun of the local authorities in the Czech Republic’s second city Brno has been removed after a complaint was lodged by a lawyer acting for Mayor Roman Onderka. The “Žít Brno” page, which had 17,000 fans, disappeared on Friday night. Neither the mayor nor his lawyer was available for comment. The group had “hijacked” what they regarded as a nonsensical official city slogan (“Žít Brno” translates roughly as “Live Brno” but does not make grammatical sense) and parodied local officials, including Mr. Onderka.
Mr. Sobotka will also visit Brussels before the end of February. His spokesman, Martin Ayrer, said on Saturday that the prime minister’s visit to the centre of the European Union would signal a turnaround in Czech policy with regard to the idea of further European integration. No details of the visit have been released, but it is likely Mr. Sobotka will go to Brussels soon after his government seeks confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on February 18.
Temperatures in the coming month could reach as high as 13 degrees Celsius, according to a monthly outlook published by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday. Thermometers could record up to 13 centigrade in the coming week, forecasters said, adding that the entire four-week period in question should see above-average temperatures. However, temperatures will also fall sharply at times, possibly reaching about -10 degrees Celsius during the day.
The Czech team at the Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi have taken their first medal, bronze for Jaroslav Soukup in the 10 kilometre sprint in the biathlon. Soukup, who is 31, finished seven tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival to reach the podium, while another Czech, Ondřej Moravec, finished eighth in Saturday’s event. The Czech Republic took six medals at the last Winter Olympics, in Vancouver.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, will visit Slovakia on Thursday in what the Czech News Agency said would be his first bilateral foreign trip since becoming head of government. Mr. Sobotka, who made a brief visit to Hungary for a Visegrad Four meeting soon after his government was appointed, will hold talks with his Slovak opposite number, Robert Fico of the left-leaning Smer, with whom he said he enjoyed long-term friendly relations. Mr. Sobotka said the two would discuss among other issues the holding of a joint session of both countries’ governments.
Czech Airlines has dropped a plan to have its new uniforms designed by the local fashion designer Blanka Matragi. A spokesperson said the reason for the rethink was a disagreement between the designer and CSA over the contract for the uniforms. For her part, Matragi said the deal on the table would not have allowed her to express her artistic vision. The airline will now either hire a different designer or stick with its current outfits.
The Czech House at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was officially opened on Saturday. The Czech Olympic HQ is considerably more modest than its equivalent at the London Summer Olympics, partly because 50,000 Czech live in the UK capital and none live in Sochi, the chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiří Kejval, said at the official launch. The Czech House was opened by the country’s president, Miloš Zeman, and the head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Dominik Duka.
The Plzen branch of the Civic Democratic Party is losing more members following the departure of former justice minister Jiri Pospíšil. Mr. Pospíšil, who was a leading figure of the party’s Plzen branch for 14 years, announced his departure last week citing loss of support from the party’s central leadership. Ten more party members have left in his wake and others are expected to follow. The Civic Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat in October’s general election following a corruption scandal that brought down the Civic Democrat-led, centre-right government last summer.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said during question and answer time in the lower house on Friday that his cabinet would not offer guarantees on the purchase price of electricity generated at the Temelin nuclear power plant in connection with its planned expansion. Experts say that the $15 billion project would only be economically feasible if the government were to guarantee higher energy prices, thereby putting a financial burden on the state or directly on consumers. CEZ, the state-owned power utility which runs the plant, has been stalling on a final decision whether to go ahead with the massive construction project and has indicated it is not ready to commit without such guarantees.
The Christian Democrats have threatened to leave the government if their partners support a Communist party proposal to scrap the law preventing former communist agents from holding high posts in public service. Party leader Pavel Belobrádek said at a press briefing in Prague on Friday that all three Christian Democrat ministers would hand in their resignations if the proposal to scrap the security vetting law wins approval. The opposition Civic Democrats and TOP 09 are also against the law being scrapped, but the Social Democrats and ANO feel that almost a quarter of a century after the fall of communism the law should be replaced by standard civil service legislation.
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