Pavol Lukša, a candidate for the TOP 09 party for the governor of Moravian-Silesian region, came out with an unusual clip for his campaign. The video presents mythological and fairytale characters that are connected to the region. They are shown coming together with the candid to help and defend people in hard times. Lukša, who is going to challenge the current governor Jaroslav Palas in the October elections, said the video was done more as a joke but was also meant to underscore some of his own values such as honesty and pride in ones homeland.
The amount of Czech exports to Russia should break the record of approximately 115 billion crowns, or six billion American dollars, this year. Last year, Czech companies exported around 94 billion crowns worth of goods to Russian. According to the Industry and Trade Ministr Martin Kuba, Russia is among the top priorities for Czech international trade. The Czech Republic, on the other hand, imports a large amount of its gas and petrol from Russia. A number of Czech firms have won large tenders in Russian in the past few months. Among them are a Brno company Unis, which will renovate an oil refinery in Krasnoyarsk, while Czech companies under the leadership of OHL ŽS will begin the construction of a railroad in the Urals this year, with a total budet of 58 billion crowns.
The Czech Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) has concluded that more than 27 million crowns were incorrectly disbursed as part of the Czech Northeastern regional operational programme in 2007-2011. NKÚ controlled 13 projects that were funded with 373 million crowns from EU subsidies. The regional council, which is the body in charge of selecting projects for funding and distributing funds, has allegedly broken a number of regulations concerning the assessment of submitted project proposals. The NKÚ says the council’s decision process was subjective and lacked transparency. These irregularities are grounds for a request to return the funds.
Ten regional Civic Democratic Party leaders have called on the six rebel MPs from the party to “end their rebellion” and vote in favour of the government proposed tax hikes. In an open letter to the deputies the regional leaders say that their behaviour is damaging the Civic Democratic Party ahead of the autumn elections and claim that the real reason behind the rebellion is an attempt to oust Petr Nečas from his post as party leader and prime minister. Three regional leaders have not supported the appeal.
A Czech soldier who was seriously injured in Friday’s missile attack against the Shank operating base in Afghanistan has been transported home. The soldier, who served on the provincial reconstruction team in Logar province, was injured by flying shrapnel and was airlifted to a military hospital in Kabul where he was operated on by Czech physicians. On Saturday night he was flown home in an army special and is now receiving care at Prague’s military hospital in Střešovice. There are currently some 300 Czech soldiers and civilian experts working at the Shank base in Logar.
A powered hang glider crashed near Mostkovice in the Prostějov region on Sunday after attempting to land in a field. The sixty-eight-year old pilot was taken to hospital with an open fracture of the forearm. Police investigating the accident took a breathalyzer which showed that the man was heavily intoxicated.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has warned against a drawn-out debate on the government proposed tax hikes saying the country could find itself operating on a provisional budget next year. The prime minister defended the government proposed tax hikes, which the lower house rejected thanks to six rebels from his own party, saying that a final rejection of the bill would mean the introduction of a single 17.5 percent VAT which would increase the state deficit by 24 billion crowns. The prime minister ,who has sent the law back to the lower house linked to a vote of confidence in his administration, said in a televised debate on Sunday that should his government fall he would prefer to see early elections to a caretaker cabinet.
A thirty-six-year old man has been charged in connection with the sale of illegally-produced brandy that killed three people this week. Six others are in critical condition in hospital, most of them likely to lose their eyesight. It is not clear if the man in question produced the alcohol or sold it. The victims all bought the brandy from a street stall in the Moravian town of Havirov, where it was sold on tap. However two more cases of alcohol poisoning have since appeared in the towns of Znojmo and Kyov. Warnings have been issued to the public not to buy cheap liquor in the street until the incident has been investigated.
Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek took his leave of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in grand style on Saturday night conducting the closing night of the BBC Proms. Bělohlávek who has been chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the last six years got a standing ovation from the crowd and a heartfelt rendition of Auld Lang Syne. The conductor received a big cheer when he pulled out the CBE honour given him by Queen Elizabeth and put it round his neck. Mr. Bělohlávek will now be moving back to Prague where he is serve as chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
The management of Prague’s National Theatre has requested a meeting with
the culture minister, Alena Hanáková, over Friday’s unexpected
dismissal of the theatre’s director Ondřej Černý. The management has
questioned the move in an open letter to the minister and criticized her
decision to appoint her deputy Martin Sankot as a temporary replacement.
The management says the task should be given to someone from their own
ranks in view of the complexities involved in managing such an institution.
Minister Hanáková on Friday sacked the theatre’s director without forewarning, later saying that she was not happy with the pace of the ongoing merger of the National Theatre and the Prague State Opera. The theatre head has rejected the stated reason for his dismissal saying his sacking and the manner in which it was undertaken reflected “arrogance of power”. Černý’s mandate was to have expired in March of 2013.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
Film about tragic fate of great Czech actress highlights communist atrocities in the 1950s