Six rebel Civic Democrat deputies who may bring down the government over controversial tax-hikes are holding their ground. A meeting on Tuesday morning with a special party working group striving to find a compromise solution failed to break the deadlock. The six rebels are refusing to support a package of tax hikes which the government claims are inevitable for it to meet its fiscal target –i.e. bring the gap in public finances to below 3 percent of GDP in 2013. The rebels’ refusal to support tax hikes puts the government’s fate on the line since the prime minister has linked the bill to a vote of confidence in the centre-right government.
The iconic British band Depeche Mode has put Prague on its 2013 world tour. Their concert is scheduled for July 23rd at Prague’s Vrsovice stadium and tickets should start selling at the end of October. The price range is between 1200 crowns to 2000 crowns. Depeche Mode last performed in the Czech Republic at Prague’s O2 Arena in 2010.
Rival candidate for the presidency Jiri Dienstbier slammed Mr. Fisher’s statement on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Mr. Dienstbier, who is the official candidate of the Social Democratic Party, noted that that the Czech constitution did not give the president the power to decide who should or should not be in government depending on his own preference, he merely appointed a prime minister designate whose task it was to form a government. The constitution is binding for all citizens, the president included, and Mr. Fisher would do well to study it before resorting to populist statements, Jiri Dienstbier said.
Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka has accused the government of letting the country slide into chaos and noted that the ruling coalition should either get on with the task of ruling the country or resign. Mr. Sobotka said it was unacceptable for the ruling coalition to continue in the present manner when it was not clear whether it had a majority in the lower house, the votes to pass next year’s state budget, what taxes would be in place next year and whether the pension reform would be in force or not. Communist Party leader Vojtech Filip joined the criticism saying the members of the ruling coalition were not serving the country but merely hanging onto power.
Czech banks tightened credit standards overall for corporate loans and loans for house purchase in Q3 2012, while leaving them unchanged for consumer loans, according to the Bank Lending Survey published by the Czech National Bank (ČNB) on Monday. The tightening of standards for both corporate and housing loans was due mainly to perceptions of risks relating to expected general economic activity and manifested itself during the approval of loans chiefly via a higher collateral requirement for corporate loans and a rise in margins, the national bank said. The demand for corporate loans and loans for house purchase declined. By contrast, demand for consumer loans increased, the central bank said. In Q4, banks expect credit standards to tighten for corporate loans and to ease for loans for house purchase. According to banks, demand for corporate loans should continue to fall. On the other hand, banks expect demand for loans to households to rise, the survey suggests.
Petr Hájek, the deputy chancellor to President Václav Klaus, has written
that the Czech Republic’s first president, the late Václav Havel,
“served as a tool of Satan” spreading “hatred and lies”. The
controversial presidential aide – who in the past questioned the
existence of Osama Bin Laden or questioned who attacked the US on 9/11 –
the statement in a new book to be published in November, Parlamentní
reports. In Death in Velvet (Smrt v sametu), Mr Hájek reportedly does not
hold back on his own boss, saying that many of the current president’s
political aims were in shambles, arguing that democracy had been replaced
by the rule of the media and charging that the political right had been
replaced by a “Europeiste” (or pro-European) caricature. Petr Hájek
known for no shortage of controversial statements in the past, calling
homosexuals “deviants” and mocking Darwinism.
Czechs in November, when the book is to be released, will mark the 23rd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, in which Václav Havel played a key role.
After carrying out an audit at the Education Ministry, the Czech Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) announced on Monday that the funding requirements for public universities set by the ministry were too lax. The audit of funded projects from 2006 to 2011 revealed that as a result some projects went over budget by as much as 100%. Out of the 14 projects controlled by the office, five were found to be problematic. In many cases, NKÚ has claimed, the ministry did not require the recipients to evaluate the effectivity of the investment in their project applications. The ministry recognized that overspending was registered in some projects from 2003 to 2006, but that later the requirements were made stricter.
The General Inspection of the Security Services has recommended that former police president Petr Lessy face prosecution, the spokeswoman for the Prague state prosecutors’ office has said. The General Inspection has been investigating the former police head since late August for alleged libel and abuse of public office. The spokeswoman on Monday declined to discuss whether the nature of the charges had changed; she said a state prosecutor was going over the case file at present. If the case goes to court and Mr Lessy is found guilty of libel and abuse of office, he could face up to three years in prison.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has told journalists that if revenue
from the planned autumn issue of retail bonds topped 10 billion crowns,
issue would be a success. Investors will be able to order state bonds from
November 5 to November 30. The period, however, can be shortened by the
Finance Ministry. The ministry will also offer a premium bond with a
three-year maturity and annual average yield of 2.77 percent. The bonds
will be distributed through branches of postal service operator Česká
pošta and of banks Česká spořitelna, ČSOB, Komerční banka and
The first retail bond issue took place a year ago and investors ordered over 20 billion crowns worth of bonds; the spring issue this year generated around 15 billion. Bonds were available for both Czechs and foreigners, civic associations, foundations and churches, among others, and in the spring also included regions, towns and public universities.
The leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, taking part in the 16th Forum 2000 international conference in Prague, has said his government is seeking “genuine autonomy” for Tibet within China and not, by contrast, “independence or separation”. The prime minister, who became the head of Tibet´s government-in-exile last year after the Dalai Lama gave up his political posts (but retained his position as spiritual leader) said Tibetans deserved to take part in the administration, economy, education, environment and other issues. Mr Sangay called the situation in Tibet until now an occupation and also discussed the tragic history of self-immolation by some Tibetans in protest. Tibet´s exile government has been seated in Dharamsala, India since the 1950s, after China took control of Tibet.
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