Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has said he is going to run for the post of chairman of the Civic Democrat Prague branch, despite his earlier statements to the contrary. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Svoboda also said he did not rule out running for the post of vice-chairman of the party, but said he was not interested in presidential candidacy. A new Civic Democrat leadership will be elected in about a year’s time. A gynaecologist by profession, Mr Svoboda became Prague Mayor after the 2010 municipal elections. Last month a coalition of the Civic and Social Democrats at the Prague City Hall was terminated and replaced by a centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party. The chairman of the Civic Democrats’ Prague branch Boris Šťastný who unexpectedly ended the grand coalition, in a move that many have speculated was aimed at removing Bohuslav Svoboda, resigned from his post on Friday.
The Czech Republic’s GDP is expected to grow by 0.8 percent next year while inflation should reach 3 percent due to a higher VAT rate, a survey carried out by the Finance Ministry and based on predictions by domestic and foreign economic institutions suggests. The Czech economy should grow by 2.1 percent in 2013 and by 2.3 percent in 2014 while inflation in those years should hover around the 2-percent target set by the Czech National Bank, the ihned.cz news site reported.
Prices of food are expected to rise by around 10 percent next year, the novinky.cz news site reported on Sunday, citing Czech producers and traders. According to the president of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism Zdeněk Juračka, the price increase will be caused by a weakening crown, a VAT hike, growing commodity prices on foreign markets and rising costs of transport and energy. A spokeswoman for the Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries said higher prices might affect local production as consumers might travel to countries with a lower VAT. Producers have warned pressure on lower prices might lead to a decline in quality. According to the Czech Statistical Office Czechs consumed less meat, milk products, fruit and vegetables as well as alcohol and cigarettes last year. Producers say they believe the trend has continued in 2011.
Five foreign nationals have been detained in connection with Saturday’s attack against a group of police officers in the North Bohemian town of Varnsdorf. A police spokeswoman said on Sunday charges were being prepared against the men. A group of foreign nationals allegedly attacked seven police officers off duty at 2:30 am on Saturday in one of the town’s bars. Personal revenge is believed to be behind the attack. According to TV Nova, one of the detained men is an Albanian national whose son was fined a year ago by one of the policemen. Police are still determining the precise number of the attackers.
Two people have been reported missing following a boat accident on the Lipno dam in South Bohemia. A police spokeswoman said on Sunday a boat carrying three German-speaking tourists had capsized on Saturday night. While one of them managed to swim to the shore, the two other men, aged 21, are still missing and police continue searching for them.
Five horses have died and three others have shown symptoms of poisoning since Friday at a farm in the district of Jihlava, probably after ingesting poisonous bait, the novinky.cz news site reports. Two animals are being treated at a veterinary clinic. Damage has been estimated at 500,000 crowns. According to the website, the owner of the horses has announced a reward for anyone who identifies the perpetrator. She has ruled the possibility of accident. Police have collected samples of feed and water at the farm and are awaiting results from the veterinary authority while investigating the case.
Around eight thousand people braved the weather and arrived at the site of the historic Battle of Austerlitz in South Moravia on Saturday afternoon to watch a re-enactment of the 1805 battle. Some 900 military buffs took part in the annual re-enactment of the operation in which Napoleon defeated the armies of Russian Tzar Alexander I and Austrian Emperor Franz I. Around 20,000 men were killed in the combat, also known as the Battle of Three Emperors, which took place on December 2, 1805 near the town of Slavkov (or Austerlitz in German), south of Brno.
Czech Airlines has resumed normal operation after a two-day protest by its pilots. A spokeswoman for the carrier said on Saturday the pilots’ protest would not affect flights at the weekend but a representative of the pilots’ labour union said its members remained on strike alert. Czech Airlines cancelled 25 flights from and to Prague’s Ruzyně airport on Thursday and another eight on Friday as around a hundred pilots co-ordinately took sick leaves to protest against a transfer of aircraft to a charter carrier affiliated with Czech Airlines, a move they described as the beginning of Czech Airlines’ liquidation. Czech Airlines said it considered the protest illegal and would punish the pilots participating in the action.
Thirty Czech military doctors have been sent to Slovakia even though the Slovak government finally signed an agreement with local doctors ending a long labour dispute over low salaries. The Czech and Slovak Health Ministers confirmed the assistance mission on Saturday. The Czech doctors are expected to stay only for several days and will be working in hospitals in Bratislava, Nitra and Žilina which were affected by the recent industrial action.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said he believes that the eurozone will not collapse as a result of the current debt crisis. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Mr. Nečas said scaremongering might only aggravate the situation. Earlier this week Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek warned of disastrous consequences the collapse of the euro would have for the Czech economy. He said a systemic financial collapse of the eurozone would have a fatal economic, fiscal and social impact on the Czech Republic, and the country would ‘struggle to survive’.