A man who spent seven years in jail for counterfeiting money visited the country’s most notorious prisoner Jiří Kajínek on Monday at Rýnovice prison in Jablonec nad Nisou, in order to give him 1,000 crowns (around 37 euros). The money, he said, was so that Kajínek, serving a life sentence after being found guilty of two contract killings, a crime he has always denied committing, could buy a ticket home and lunch upon his release. He said the prisoner would only receive 120 crowns upon release from behind bars. President Miloš Zeman announced earlier this month that he would grant Mr Kajínek a pardon after returning from a trip to China. According to a poll conducted for Czech TV by the Median agency, 54 percent of the public is in favour of a pardon and 36 percent are against.
Social Democrat deputy leader and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has said he would also have supported Friday’s striking of former South Bohemian governor Jiří Zimola from the regional candidates list in the autumn parliamentary elections, had he taken part. According to the minister, Mr Zimola’s past business dealings could have hurt the party in the eyes of the voters. His name was tarnished over the earnings of top hospital managers and revelations about some of his property deals; as a result Mr Zimola resigned as governor in April after holding the post of governor for nine years. Regional Social Democrats from South Bohemia are protesting against the move.
Higher pensions, wages for state officials, increased spending on health and social payments as well as boosted defence spending will take the proposed budget deficit for 2018 to 50 billion crowns, finance minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš said on Monday. The figure represents a 10 billion crown cut in the budget deficit already agreed for 2017. Babiš complained that exact calculations are difficult because many ministries announce targets for revenues from European funds but these turn out often to be exaggerated.
Around two-thirds of Czechs believe the country’s public debt is too high and just over 70 percent believe that individual indebtedness is a major problem, according to a survey by the CCVM agency. The figure for concern about public debt continues its slide from 2013, the agency commented. Czech public debt to the end of March stood at 1.79 trillion crowns, or around 75 billion US dollars. The total debt burden of Czech citizens comes 1.45 trillion crowns. Despite the fears, the Czech public debt to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in Europe.
President Miloš Zeman will meet with ANO party nominee for the post of finance minister Ivan Pilný at Prague Castle on Tuesday afternoon, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček confirmed. Mr Pilný is due to replace embattled ANO head Andrej Babiš in the post, quelling a government crisis which has continued for weeks. The prime minister sought Mr Babiš’ resignation after the finance minister failed to satisfactorily explain questionable financial dealings.
The Czech Republic will not file a lawsuit over German road toll legislation although it may revisit the issue if another country files. The news was confirmed by the government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer on Monday. The European Commission, which launched infringement proceedings against Germany over its road charging system later said the toll system was in line with EU legislation. The Commission ended proceedings last week. Taking into account the decision, Transport Minister Dan Ťok recommended that the Czech Republic not lodge a suit. Critics say tolls in Germany will in reality only be paid by foreign drivers, as owners of cars registered in Germany will see their car tax proportionally reduced.
The City of Prague will not raise the fee for the annual transport pass from the current 3,650 crowns. The decision is to be confirmed by Prague councilors on Tuesday. The city’s transport authority lowered the price of the annual coupon in 2015 from 4750 crowns – since, the number of those paying for yearly passes has grown. Revenues from the card last year amounted to 2.21 billion crowns and 2.2 the year before.
In ice hockey, Liberec defender Radim Šimek has signed a one-year contract with San Jose Sharks. According to the website isport.cz, his NHL salary will amount to 830 thousand US dollars. Šimek got offers from other teams, including New York Rangers, but according to his agent Petr Hemský, the Sharks had offered the most flexible contract. Another Czech who currently plays for the San Jose Sharks is forward Tomáš Hertl.
A work by the Czech surrealist painter Jindřich Štyrský has sold for a 19 million crowns (over 800,000 dollars), setting a new auction record for the author. The 1925 painting, entitled "A chimney sweep and a snowman", was auctioned off at an art auction in Prague on Sunday. Another three art objects sold at the auction exceeded the price of 10 million crowns.
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