The head of the Social Democratic Party, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, presented his proposal for changes in his cabinet to the president on Sunday. In a cabinet shake-up, the prime minister made clear he aimed to recall the health and human rights ministers, Svatopluk Němeček and Jiří Dienstbier, from their posts. They are to step down on November 30. The prime minister presented President Miloš Zeman with the names of nominees in their stead, the head of Motol Hospital Miloslav Ludvík and Jan Chvojka. The president showed approval, his spokesman confirmed. The move is meant to shore up the government in its final 11 months until the next national election. The prime minister had sought additional changes in government but did not find common ground within the coalition. The president, meanwhile, voiced earlier the preference that Culture Minister Daniel Herman should be one to depart from the government following the minister's meeting in October with the Dalai Lama, which Mr Zeman made clear he was against.
The Czech Republic will increase defense spending to two percent of GDP, meeting requirements under NATO only after 2025 as previously agreed, the prime minister confirmed on Sunday. Speaking in a Czech TV political debate programme, he suggested increasing spending before then made little sense for the Czech military; political opponent Miroslava Němcová countered with the view that defense spending was indeed sluggish. NATO commitments were a campaign issue in the recent US presidential election for president-elect Donald J. Trump, who cast doubt that the US would honour Article 5, coming to allies' defence in the face of foreign aggression, if allies didn't pay their fair share. On Sunday, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka called a reopening of the issue of missile defense in the Czech Republic, backed roughly a decade ago by President George W. Bush, axed by the Obama administration and recently mentioned by Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, "science fiction".
Social Democrat leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said in an interview on Czech TV that he expects his party to begin focusing on who to back in the presidential election in 2018 after the party's leadership conference in March. He also expressed the hope that the Social Democrats would hold an inner-party referendum on who to back or field. He also made clear that if the election came down to a choice in the second round between the current head-of-state, Miloš Zeman, and millionaire challenger Michal Horáčeck, the former would most likely be the party's choice. Mr Zeman headed the Social Democratic Party as prime minister in the late 1990s into the new century; it is not yet known whether he will seek re-election as president.
Long-time TV personality and doctor Roman Šmucler has been elected the head of the Czech Dental Chamber. He will hold the post from 2017 to 2021. In voting on Plzěn on Saturday, Dr Šmucler narrowly clinched the win in the second round. Šmucler will take up the post from the chamber's current president, Pavel Chrz.
Czech javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková came first in a prestigious survey to see her named Athlete of the Year for the eighth time in her career. Pole jumper Jan Kudlička came second in the survey and 400m runner Pavel Maslák came third. Špotáková won bronze this year at the Rio Olympics, following golds from London and Beijing.
This year's Fed Cup final in Strasbourg between France and the Czech Republic was decided in the doubles match on Sunday night. The duo of Barbora Strýcová and Karolína Plíšková defeated Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in a tense two-setter: the final score was 7:5, 7:5. The Czech women's tennis team has now won three Fed Cup championships in a row and five in the last six years.
Earlier on Sunday in the second singles match of the day, Strýcová stepped in for an injured Petra Kvitová against France's Alizé Cornet. The Czech squad at that point was trailing 2-1 on points and needed the win to avoid going out. Strýcová downed her opponent 6:2,7:6 to force the decider.
Monday should see cloudy conditions with sunny periods and highs of around 1 degree Celsius. Meteorologists have said that temperatures should go up mid- to late-week, as high as 11 degrees Celsius - rainfall is expected. According to the long-term forecast, it should be coldest in the coming weeks during the week of December 5.
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