A preferential debt relief regime that now only applies to the elderly and
disabled will likely be extended to Czechs paying off debts incurred when
they were minors.
MPs voted unanimously on Wednesday to amend the Insolvency Act to allow the new category of debtor to be included in the preferential regime.
The amendment’s authors said that leading figures in the Senate had signalled its smooth passage in the upper house. If signed into law by the President, it could take effect in September.
An earlier amendment to the Civil Code would transfer debts of children under 15 to their parents or guardians.
Over 6,000 children in the Czech Republic are currently threatened with distraint orders while tens of thousands of young adults have debts carried over from childhood.
Communist Party chairman Vojtěch Filip has criticised the participation of
the Czech ambassador to Berlin in a meeting of the Sudeten German Homeland
Association last month, accusing Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček of
trying to demolish the Beneš decrees.
Mr. Filip said the Sudeten German group could not be a partner of the government and that he had never felt such disgust at a Czech foreign minister.
For his part, Mr. Petříček said nobody had questioned the Beneš decrees. He said Mr. Filip was acting like a parasite toward the past and what’s more was doing so a month late.
The Beneš decrees sanctioned the expulsion of Czechoslovakia’s German minority and the confiscation of their property after WWII.
The replacement of ice breakers on Prague’s Charles Bridge will take
until the end of November or the start of December, the city councillor in
charge of transport, Adam Scheinherr, told reporters. The CZK 29.5 job got
underway in the middle of June.
The existing ice breakers have been in place since 2006. The new ones will be made of oak, which should last longer, Mr. Scheinherr said. The 14th century Charles Bridge is the only one of Prague’s bridges to have such defences against the buildup of ice.
The replacement of the ice breakers is part of a broader technical renovation of Charles Bridge, which was interrupted in 2010. A number of arches are in need of repair, with the 14th one over Kampa island in a particularly poor state.
Barbora Strýcová has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tennis
tournament for the first time at the age of 33. The Czech overcame
England’s Johanna Konta 7-6 6-1 in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on
Tuesday to set up a clash with seven-time tournament winner Serena Williams
of the US.
Strýcová’s compatriot Karolína Muchová was knocked out in the quarter-finals, losing 5-7 4-6 to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
If the Social Democrats quit the government and the cabinet is
reconstructed, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO would not need to seek a
fresh vote of confidence, the Communist Party’s Vojtěch Filip said on
Tuesday. Mr. Filip said the Social Democrats had around a third of the
seats in cabinet, meaning it would not be a major change.
The Communist Party chief said if other parties disagreed with this they could seek a vote of no-confidence. The Babiš government survived such a show of hands for the second time two weeks ago.
The Social Democrats are threatening to pull out of the coalition over the refusal of ANO leader Babiš to force the president to accept the resignation of the party’s arts minister.
Opposition politicians are planning to take President Miloš Zeman to the
Constitutional Court over his refusal to accept the resignation of a
minister, despite being requested to dismiss him so by Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš. The head of the Mayors and Independents party, Vít
Rakušan, said it was the last instrument at their disposal to curb the
head of state’s arbitrary behaviour, iDnes.cz reported.
Mr. Rakušan said when the prime minister was weak the whole country was the loser, warning that the country was headed for a quasi-presidential system.
Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09 said his party would back the petition to the Constitutional Court.
The Civic Democrats have called for a return to the previous system under which the president was elected by Parliament not the public. However, the Mayors and Independents say the Constitution should not be amended just because of one bad experience.
President Zeman has refused to accept the resignation of the minister of culture, Antonín Staněk.
A group of senators is also planning to launch a complaint against Mr. Zeman at the Constitutional Court. They say they will decide on its final form after he meets Mr. Babiš, Mr. Hamáček and Mr. Staněk later this week.
President Miloš Zeman is to hold meetings later this week with key players
in the country’s ongoing political crisis. His spokesman said that the
head of state would welcome Prime Minister Andrej Babiš of ANO to Prague
Castle on Thursday at 5 pm. The following day Mr. Zeman will play host to
Social Democrats chairman Jan Hamáček and the party’s minister of
culture, Antonín Staněk, at his Lány residence at 3 pm.
The president has refused to accept the resignation of Mr. Staněk, a move that the Social Democrats insist on. They say they may quit the coalition government if Mr. Babiš doesn’t force Mr. Zeman to act. However, the PM shows no signs of doing so.
No progress was made during talks between the president and the heads of the two coalition parties last week. The Czech constitution says the president must remove a minister at the request of the prime minister, though it does not set a deadline for this.
Some 150,000 people attended two concerts by UK singer-songwriter Ed
Sheeran in Prague on Sunday and Monday night, the organisers said. Tickets
for the first show sold out within hours so a second one was added for the
following evening. Sheeran had previously played at the city’s O2 Arena
The biggest single concert seen in Prague saw the Rolling Stones draw a crowd of 130,000 to the city’s Strahov Stadium in 1995. The following year a Michael Jackson performance at Letná Plain was attended by 120,000 people.
US opera star Renée Fleming will perform a special concert in Prague on
Tuesday celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. She will
appear at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House with the Prague Symphony
Orchestra, conducted by Elli Jaffe.
Fleming, whose grandparents on one side were born in Prague, first sang in the Czech Republic in 1996. In 2009 she helped mark the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in a show organised by Václav Havel at which Joan Baez and Lou Reed also played.
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