The minister of transport, Pavel Dobeš, has handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Petr Nečas and will formally step down on December 3. On Tuesday night, the leadership of the smallest party in the governing coalition, LIDEM, had called for the resignation of Mr. Dobeš, who was the appointment of a party that LIDEM split from. He came under pressure in the summer when the launch of a new Transport Ministry register of vehicles was accompanied by numerous problems; LIDEM’s leader Karolína Peake said one reason it was necessary for the minister to go was that it was still not working properly. Ms. Peake’s assistant Robert Vacek will take over the Transport portfolio when Mr. Dobeš leaves office.
A man who fired at Czech President Václav Klaus at close range with an air gun in a Czech town in September has been arrested by police in Austria, where Mr. Klaus is on a three-day state visit. Pavel Vondrouš was waiting for Mr. Klaus at an event in Vienna where the head of state was to present a book of his when he was apprehended along with another man. He was reported not to be carrying a weapon. At the time of his attack on the president, Mr. Vondrouš said it was in protest at how politicians did not pay heed to ordinary people. Mr. Klaus’s bodyguards came in for great criticism for failing to give him appropriate protection.
The European Commission has criticised Czech politicians for making excessive changes among civil service officials in the wake of general elections. In an annual report on the Czech Republic, Commission officials said the politically motivated replacement of senior civil servants was impacting growth and competitiveness, harming the public administration, and resulting in lower drawing on European Union funds than might otherwise be the case.
Four large airlines have expressed interest in buying the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines, or ČSA, Česká pozice has reported, quoting what it called reliable sources. The news website said Air France, Turkish Airlines, Etihad Airways and Korean Air were considering making a bid for the state-controlled ČSA, which has been valued at around CZK 150 million, or less than US$8 million. Around 50 airlines around the world have been addressed in connection with the planned privatisation. A previous attempt to sell off ČSA in 2009 failed.
Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake said on Wednesday that it was necessary to make checks on alcohol a greater priority and to improve communication between the agencies She was speaking after a cabinet meeting to discuss a government analysis that found that criticised the Czech state’s efforts to combat the illegal market in alcohol in the last two years. In September, the government banned the sale of all spirits for nearly two weeks after a series of deaths related to drinking bootleg liquor containing methanol; to date thirty-three people have died and several more have suffered permanent damage to their health.
A Czech student has been arrested in the tiny West African state of Togo on suspicion of espionage. Radim Tobolka from the University of Hradec Králové was taken in by police in the capital of Togo, Lome, on Saturday. A spokesperson for the University of Hradec Králové said he had apparently been arrested in connection with a research project he was conducing in the country as part of his Politics and African Studies course. A Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said its representatives had obtained a promise from the authorities in Togo that Mr. Tobolka would be released in the coming days.
The authorities in the south Moravian town of Břeclav have announced plans to give cash rewards to citizens who report on graffiti sprayers and other vandals. A spokesperson for the local town hall said that repairing damage to property in Břeclav cost CZK 50,000 a month and officials had run out of patience with the perpetrators. Similar reward systems have proven successful in towns such as Hodonín, Jihlava and Třebíč. No figure for was given for how much those who report vandals will receive.
Czech-born tennis legend Ivan Lendl, who is in Prague ahead of this weekend’s Davis Cup final against Spain, told reporters on Wednesday that he expected a tight encounter. Lendl was part of the Czechoslovak team that won the competition in 1980. He said there were many possible permutations in terms of who would win points for the Czechs, but the main thing was that they notched up three. He said home support would represent an advantage. The Czech Republic’s men will be hoping to follow the recent victory of the Czech women in the Fed Cup to make the country the first since 1990 to take both titles.
The final two motor rallies of the season in the Czech Republic will not now be held, a spokesperson for the body that oversees rallies in the country said after a extraordinary meeting on Tuesday. The announcement comes in the wake of an accident during the amateur RallyShow Uherský Brod last weekend in which four spectators – the youngest of them six years of age – were killed when they were struck by a car.
The Czech international Tomáš Hübschman is unlikely to play again this
year, after suffering a knee injury. The 31-year-old defensive midfielder,
who has been a mainstay at Shakhtar Donetsk since 2004, will miss the
Ukrainian club’s three remaining league and two remaining Champions
League fixtures this year. Hübschman has two Czech league titles with
Sparta Prague and six Ukrainian league and one UEFA Cup title with
Meanwhile, former Czech international Zdeněk Grygera is now fit and hoping to get a new deal with Fulham; the defender was injured soon after his arrival at the English Premier League club last year and is currently out of contract.