An appellate court in the eastern city of Zlín on Thursday confirmed a 27-month prison sentence for an Egyptian national who was found guilty of abusing his Czech wife. The 32-year-old foreigner physically and psychologically abused his wife for over three years and threatened to kidnap their child to Egypt. The attacks gradually intensified and in February, the man assaulted his wife with a knife; she called the police and had her husband arrested. The judge said the man wanted to change his wife’s personality. While the convicted abuser denied all accusations, his lawyer said they would consider an appeal to the Czech Supreme Court.
Bakers in the town of Pelhřimov on Thursday marked the International Bread Day by baking the country’s largest ever loaf of bread. Made of wheat and rye flour, the 18-kilo loaf will be inducted into the Czech Book of Records. The manager of the bakery said it took four hours to bake the loaf. Production of bread in the Czech Republic decreased last year by 6 percent; nearly 290,000 tons of bread were produced in the country in 2010.
The Czech national football team was on Thursday drawn against Montenegro in the playoffs for next year’s European championships. The first match will take place in the Czech Republic on November 11 or 12 and the second leg will be held a week later in Montenegro. The Czechs finished second behind Spain in the qualification Group I after they beat Lithuania 4:1 in Vilnius on Tuesday. The national side manager Vladimír Šmicr said the draw was “neutral” as the team wanted to avoid Turkey which was also in the draw and which would have been a more difficult opponent.
In the NHL, Czech hockey veteran Jaromír Jágr had an assist in the Philadelphia Flyers’ first home game of the season in which the hosts beat the Vancouver Canucks 5:4 on Wednesday. Another Czech player on the Flyers’ roster, forward Jakub Voráček, scored a goal in the game, his second in the season. 39-year-old Jágr, who returned to the NHL this year after three seasons in the Russian KHL, said he was able to play in his own style in the game. In the three games of the season, the veteran forward scored two assists and took seven shots on goal.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas said at a press briefing in Prague on Wednesday the fall of the Slovak government over an EU bailout fund was bad news. The Czech cabinet has a close working relationship with Prime Minister Iveta Radičova’s pro-reform government. In developments on Wednesday three out of Slovakia’s four centre-right coalition parties struck a deal with the left wing opposition party Smer on support for the EU rescue fund in a repeat vote later this week, to be followed by early elections in March.
The deficit in Czech public finances in 2011 should drop below 4 percent of GDP, Finance Minister Miroslv Kalousek told the budgetary committee of the Czech lower house on Wednesday. Originally the ministry had forecast a deficit of 4.6 percent, a projection later modified to 4.2 percent. The Czech National Bank has also forecast a deficit of 3.8 percent this year. According to the ministry’s long-term outlook the 2012 deficit should drop to 3,5 percent and reach 2,9 the year after.
The government on Wednesday debated a report on the plight of the
country’s Romany minority which for the most part lives in social
exclusion. According to available statistics there are around 400 slums in
the Czech Republic with an estimated 80,000 inhabitants, predominantly from
the Roma minority. Prime Minister Nečas told reporters that the key to
breaking the vicious circle of poverty, unemployment and social exclusion
was to give Romany children equal opportunities in education and help them
overcome cultural barriers.
The government report cites an alarming lack of progress in this sphere noting that Romany children were almost automatically placed in special schools for disadvantaged children which made it highly unlikely they would find a job and live a better life than their parents. With increasing racial tension in Roma populated areas some municipalities have moreover created a system of residential and social policies that essentially displace troublesome groups of people to the community’s outskirts.
The European Commission on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of the EU’ s common agricultural policy which would have far-reaching impacts on Czech farmers. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Dacian Cioloş the proposal would restrict farming subsidies to 30,000 euros (7.4 million crowns ) per year. Part of the payments would moreover be linked to adherence to certain ecological norms. The proposal which was unveiled on Wednesday is expected to trigger a heated debate, especially in the light of Europe’s present economic problems.
The Czech Republic is sending members of the country’s rapid deployment squad to protect the Czech embassy in Libya. Following a reconnaissance mission by a special team the Czech Foreign Ministry on Wednesday approved Ambassador Josef Koutsky’s return to Tripoli on Thursday. The special unit is to remain at the embassy for as long as necessary. The Czech Foreign Ministry also earmarked 4 million crowns from its aid fund for humanitarian aid to Libya.
The town of Šluknov, which has seen a rise in crime and growing racial tension in recent months, has moved to restrict the opening hours of bars with gaming machines. The town council approved a regulation banning the use of gaming machines after midnight which should reduce noise pollution, curb crime and help maintain law and order. The town’s initial intention was to ban gaming machines as such, but the police advised against such a move saying it would result in their being operated illegally.