The government would like to extend legal deadlines for some privatization cases from the 1990s, deputy PM Karolína Peake told Czech TV on Sunday. This year, the statutes of limitations will expire in some of the biggest privatization deals, including those of the mining firm OKD and the engineering company Škoda Plzeň; Ms Peake said she would propose the extend these deadlines so that their investigation could be completed.
Some 300 people gathered in the town Varnsdorf, in northern Bohemia, on Sunday to call for protection against crime ascribed to local Romanies. The protestors also criticized the authorities for not providing information about crimes allegedly committed by the Romany minority. No incidents were reported to have taken place at the rally. In recent years, the poor north Bohemian region has been ridden with ethnic tensions between Romanies and ethnic Czechs; after a series of conflicts last year, the government increased police presence in the area and promised to implement social programmes.
Czechs would like one of the country’s leading theatres, rather than
Prague airport, to be named after the late president Václav Havel,
according to an online poll by the Sanep agency released on Sunday. Nearly
24 percent of those polled said they preferred a theatre to bear the name
of Václav Havel, compared to the less than 20 percent who want Prague’s
Ruzyně airport to be named after him. Over 18 percent of the people who
took part in the survey would like to rename one of Prague’s prominent
streets in Václav Havel’s honour, while just over 20 percent would not
The former Czech president, dissident and playwright Václav Havel died on December 18, 2011, aged 75. The authorities have not yet decided how to honour his memory although many proposals have been put up for debate.
Planned early retirement bonuses should be made available to workers of all professions, according to the Czech Finance Ministry. A spokesman for the ministry told the news agency ČTK on Sunday new legislation that is being prepared by the ministry would not limit these benefits to people with demanding jobs, as originally proposed. Beginning in January 2013, people with individual retirement pension accounts should be able to apply for early retirement under better conditions than before; the state will cover their health and social insurance. The planned changes are part of the government’s overhaul of the pension system.
The film Rodina je základ státu, or Long Live the Family, by Robert Sedláček, won four annual Czech film critics’ awards 2011. The film captures some of the issues of the contemporary Czech society by following a bank manager running away from the police with his family which is not aware of his problems. The movie received awards for best film, best director, best screenplay and best actress in supporting role which went to Simona Babčáková. The film Flower Buds won awards for best camera and best actor in leading role. Alois Nebel received the award for best musical score.
One person died in an apartment building fire in Vrbno pod Pradědem, in the north east of the country, on Saturday night; 40 people had to be evacuated. The fire broke out in a flat on the third floor of the four-storey building; nine apartments were destroyed by fire; others were severely damaged by smoke and water. The evacuees were put up in a local gym before the local authorities find substitute accommodation for them. The cause of the fire is being investigated; the fire brigade estimated the damage at around eight million crowns.
The Czech national handball team beat Germany 27:24 on Sunday in the opening game of the European championships in the Serbian city of Niš. The Czechs had a very good start and were ahead 8:3 in the 11th minute, leading 14:9 at halftime. After the intermission, the Germans pushed hard to equalize but only managed to get one goal behind the Czech team which eventually gained a five-goal lead. The German side came close again in the final part of the match but the Czechs held out. The game was considered very prestigious as 11 out of 16 players on the Czech team play in the German top handball league, including the current World Handball Player Filip Jícha who scored seven goals the game.
Czech President Václav Klaus on Saturday dismissed a proposal by the
senior coalition Civic Democrats to hold a popular vote on joining the
EU’s planned fiscal union. Speaking after talks in Vienna with Austrian
President Heinz Fischer, Mr Klaus, who opposes the plan, said politicians
should assume responsibility and take a decision. The Czech president
rejected the planned fiscal union as “radical liquidation” of member
The Czech coalition government remains divided on the issue; PM, and Civic Democrat leader Petr Nečas hinted he was opposed to the plan, while Foreign Minister and chair of the coalition TOP 09 party Karel Schwarzenberg threatened to quit the cabinet if the Czech Republic does not join.
Zambia’s Interior Minister Kennedy Sekeni has called on three Czech nationals who were charged with espionage but fled the country in December to return for trial, Reuters news agency reported on Saturday. Mr Sekeni said a special police team was investigating how the men left the country. The three Czechs, who work for a Dutch firm, visited Zambia after a business trip to South Africa, and were arrested after they took pictures outside a local military base. They were charged with espionage and face up to 30 years in jail. They returned to the Czech Republic with the help of Czech authorities but no details were given about their escape. Spokesman for the Czech Foreign Minister Vít Kolář said on Saturday the ministry would not comment on the case.
In related news, the Czech Republic will not extradite the three alleged spies to Zambia, Czech Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil told Czech Radio on Saturday. The country’s constitution prohibits the extradition of Czech citizens abroad against their will, Mr Pospíšil said. However, the three suspects could be extradited if an international arrest warrant is issued and they travel to a third country. Minister Pospíšil said the Czech authorities had not yet received an official extradition request from Zambia.