A debate is underway in the Chamber of Deputies ahead of a vote of confidence in the recently appointed centre-left government headed by Bohuslav Sobotka. His Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats have 111 votes between them in the 200-seat lower house and the vote is seen as a formality. Before the session began, Mr. Sobotka told journalists that he hoped his government would deliver stability to the Czech Republic and serve out its four-year term.
Striker Martin Fenin has left Slavia Prague after both parties agreed to the dissolution of his contract. The 26-year-old was part of the Czech Under 20 team that came second in their age category’s World Cup in 2007. However, he has failed to make much of an impact at Eintracht Frankfurt, Energie Cottbus or Slavia, for whom he failed to score even once in a dozen games. Fenin has made 17 appearances for the Czech senior team, finding the net three times.
The Homo Homini prize for human rights advocacy, which is presented by the NGO People in Need during the One World documentary film festival, will go to Sapiyat Magomedova, a lawyer in Dagestan who represents victims of human rights abuse. She is set to receive the award in person at the official opening of this year’s One World at Prague Crossroads on March 3.
Current and former ministers of finance Andrej Babiš and Miroslav Kalousek were involved in a war of words in Tuesday’s debate. Mr. Kalousek said the fact the finance portfolio was held by the owner of food giant Agrofert meant a conflict of interest would not arise only in exceptional cases. The TOP 09 politician also said the ANO boss would have access to secret central bank information. Mr. Babiš replied by calling Mr. Kalousek a symbol of corruption and listing questionable contracts he was linked to, including in his time at the Ministry of Defence.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey team will face former federal partners Slovakia in a last-16 knock-out game at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Tuesday evening. The countries, who both performed poorly in the group stage, have previously met twice at the Olympics, with the Czechs winning on both occasions. The winner will face the United States for a place in the semi-finals.
A record CZK 946 million was spent at art auctions in the Czech Republic last year, the internet site Artplus reported on Tuesday. That figure represented a 7 percent year on year increase, said the site, which monitors the local art market. Previously the art market had grown at a rate of a third or more a year. Over 150 works went for CZK 1 million or more in 2013.
In a speech in the lower house ahead of Tuesday’s vote of confidence, the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, questioned how the government would raise the funds to meet its pledges. He said if Finance Minister Andrej Babiš managed to find the reserves in the next four months, before negotiations on the state budget, he should be nominated for a Nobel Prize for economics. The president also used the speech to criticise November’s central bank intervention to weaken the Czech crown; he said the move had slowed the country’s accession to the Eurozone.
Ondřej Moravec has taken bronze in the men’s 15km mass start biathlon event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. It his second medal after silver in the biathlon pursuit and, along with Jaroslav Soukup’s bronze in the sprint and Gabriela Soukalová’s silver in the women’s mass start, the country’s fourth podium finish in the sport. Prior to Sochi, the Czech Republic had never taken a medal in biathlon. The country now has a total tally of six medals.
Jaroslav Krejči, a respected sociologist, historian and economist and professor emeritus at Lancaster University, died on Sunday at the age of 98. The news was confirmed by Hana Katrňáková of Masaryk University in Brno. Krejči, whose father was infamously premier of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during WW II, was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance. After the war, in Stalinist Czechoslovakia, he was found guilty of treason and received a 10-year sentence. Mr Krejči was released under an amnesty in 1960 and, together with his wife, left Czechoslovakia for Great Britain in 1968. In the 1970s he was named professor at Lancaster University, where he focussed on the macrosociological interpretation of history and civilisation.
Former environment minister Martin Bursík was elected chairman of LES (meaning ‘forest’ in Czech and an acronym for the Liberal Ecological Party) a new party founded last autumn focussing on environmental issues. Mr Bursík faced no challengers and received backing from all 74 delegates present. Mr Bursík headed the Green Party from 2005-2009, and was part of the former centre-right government led by Mirek Topolánek. The new party has attracted a number of well-known figures, among them pop lyricist and businessman Michal Horáček, a co-author of the party’s programme, and documentary filmmaker Olga Sommerová, elected one of the party’s deputy chairs.
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