The former Czech president Vaclav Havel has called for more factual debates and fewer personal attacks in Czech politics. Speaking on Czech public television Mr. Havel said that especially as regards foreign policy issues the governing party and the opposition should put aside their resentments and stick to the facts. The three months of political deadlock which followed the June general elections strained relations between all parliamentary parties, in particular between the Civic and Social Democrats.
Czech defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, last season's top scoring defender for Stanley Cup champion Carolina, will be sidelined for at least four months after undergoing shoulder surgery. The National Hockey League club announced Monday that Kaberle will not return until January at the earliest. Kaberle, 32, scored six goals and a career-best 38 assists in 77 games and was crucial to the Hurricanes' title run, scoring four goals and adding nine assists in 25 playoff games.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has criticized a decision by the European Commission to postpone by one year the expansion of its border free Schengen zone to the Czech Republic and nine other EU newcomers who joined the alliance in 2004. In a statement published on Tuesday the Foreign Ministry says that the Czech Republic is thus being denied one of the fundamental EU rights - the right to freedom of movement. The European Commission said on Monday that due to technical and legal problems in building a new police database it would be impossible to meet the original expansion date - October 2007.
Cigarette prices should rise less steeply than previously expected, after the new finance minister ordered a proposed sales tax increase to be reviewed. According to the original budget proposal cigarette prices were to go up by 12 to 15 crowns a pack. If the new government does not raise the sales tax more than the EU requires, the price will only go up by 8 to 12 crowns a pack. Finance Minister Tlusty has said that the tax rate should correspond to the lowest level set by the EU.
A Czech woman wanted for the abduction of her three children from Canada has been arrested by the Ukrainian branch of Interpol, Pravo reported on Monday. Romana Dittrichova, 38, disappeared with the children shortly before a court in Canada awarded custody to their Czech father Emil Dittrich. She was tracked down by Prague-based private investigators who informed Interpol of her whereabouts in Ukraine.
The new Civic Democratic Finance Minister, Vlastimil Tlusty, has revealed that according to an audit proposal, next year's budget deficit should be set at somewhere between 101 and 127.6 billion crowns (up to $5.6 billion US). Mr. Tlusty said on Monday that the deficit of more than 88 billion crowns (nearly $4 billion US) approved by Jiri Paroubek's government goes against the rules of setting the state budget. Mr. Tlusty has called on all political parties in the lower house to begin talks immediately, to achieve agreement on the budget and avoid a high deficit. Mr. Tlusty also said that the Czech Republic will not enter into the ERM II system next year (which goes into effect before adoption of the Euro) due to the poor state of the country's public finances.
Tomas Berdych's quarterfinal appearance at the US Open has raised the
Czech tennis player's ATP ranking to thirteenth. It is his best career
Radek Stepanek remains the leading Czech men's singles player, ranked tenth in the world. Meanwhile, women's tennis teen star Nicole Vaidisova also maintains her world number ten ranking following the US Open.
The Swiss federal high court has ruled against the Czech Republic's appeal of a March arbitration ruling that decided in favour of the Japanese company, Nomura. Earlier this year arbitration proceedings ruled that the Czech Republic faces a fine of up to 40 billion crowns (over $1.7 billion US) for failing to adequately protect Nomura's investment in IPB, a Czech bank in which the Japanese group purchased 46% of shares in 1998. IPB went bankrupt in 2000, and was sold to another bank, CSOB, for a symbolic one crown.
Vlasta Parkanova has been voted chair of the Christian Democratic parliamentary committee. She replaces Miroslav Kalousek, who resigned the post on Sunday. Deputy Christian Democrat leaders will be Tomas Kvapil and Michaela Sojdrova. The Christian Democrats have 13 seats in the lower house. Mr. Kalousek, the former chairman of the party was a key player in the post-June election negotiations, but he resigned his post in late August after pressure from within his own party, when members reacted negatively to his statement that the Christian Democrats would cooperate with the Social Democrats and accept support from the Communist Party.
Anti-corruption police have proposed that a state attorney bring charges against persons prosecuted for embezzling millions of crowns from European Union subsidies, Czech state attorney Boris Havel, head of the department for the protection of EU interests, told CTK today. Ten people, including former civil servants, are being prosecuted on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. The accused former civil servants are suspected of siphoning money from the Foundation for the Development of Regions, established in 1994 to help business development in the Czech Republic. The investigation is being monitored by the European Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF. The suspects face between five and 12 years in prison if found guilty.