The Czech senate has approved the deployment of around 50 Czech troops to Mali, as part of a joint European mission. According to the current plans, around thirty Czech soldiers will be sent to Mali to guard an army base, while in the second part of the mission, they will be responsible for training Mali government troops. The deployment is scheduled to last 15 months and will cost the Czech Defense Ministry 135 million crowns this year, and a similar sum in 2014.
Tennis player Petra Kvítová beat her fellow Czech Klára Zakopalová in the third round of the Indian Wells tournament on Tuesday night by a score of 6:2, 6:3. She will face the Russian 13th seed Maria Kirilenko in the quarterfinal on Wednesday evening. Sixth seed Tomáš Berdych will also be playing on Wednesday against Richard Gasquet in the men’s quarterfinals.
The number of those who are dissatisfied with how democracy is functioning in the Czech Republic has gone up, a new survey by the CVVM agency suggests. According to the poll, three-fifths of Czechs are unhappy over the current situation, expressing little trust in the legislative branch and the presidency. According to the survey, 33 percent are satisfied with the current state of affairs, 63 percent are not. Last year, the number of those unhappy with the current system was 10 percent fewer.
At a lunch with regional governors and Prague mayor on Wednesday, President Miloš Zeman praised the efficiency of regional authorities and said he is planning to visit different regions of the country more often than destinations abroad. The new president added that regional governments are more successful than Prime Minister Nečas’s cabinet in drawing European Funds and being fiscally responsible. He also invited the governors to attend regular meetings he is planning to hold in the Lány chateau if they have any legislative agenda they wish to discuss.
In order to cover the budget deficit this year, the Czech government has approved the Finance Ministry’s proposal to issue bonds worth 99.93 billion crowns. The cabinet approved a law that allows for the issuing of bonds with a 55-year maturity to cover the state budget deficit, which was set to 100 billion crowns for 2013.
The Czech and Slovak national football associations have agreed on a project to found a common football league. The two associations have been in talks over the issue since 2010, and finally agreed to begin ironing out the financial and technical details on Wednesday. Football clubs in both countries will still have to approve the two-country league. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has in the past said that it would not have a problem with such an undertaking.
A famous psychologist and sexologist Slavomil Hubálek died suddenly on Tuesday of heart failure at the age of 65. Mr Hubálek was a respected expert witness and a professor of social psychology at the Charles University Faculty of Social Science. He provided expert analysis in well-known court cases against, for example, the ‘heparin killer’ Petr Zelenka and former head of the Bambini di Praga choir Bohumil Kulínský.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said that his Civic Democratic Party is not interested in occupying the position of the defense minister, which has been empty since the LIDEM party chairwoman Karolína Peake was dismissed from the post in December. Mr Nečas, who has been serving as the temporary head of the defense ministry, said that finding a replacement is a top priority and there have been speculations that he may be looking for a non-partisan candidate for the job. The Civic Democrats’ coalition partner TOP 09 has publicly voiced its concern over the unresolved issue.
The government has approved the sale of a 44-percent share of the state-owned Czech Airlines to Korean Air for 67.5 million crowns. Finance Minister, Miroslav Kalousek, underlined the strategic significance of the sale, saying that Korean Air is planning to make Prague one of its European hubs, which would bring more business both for the currently loss-making Czech Airlines and for Prague airport. Korean Air and Czech Airlines already operate direct code-share flights between Prague and Seoul four times a week. The cabinet is set to sign the official contract with Korean Air on 9 April.
Prince Edward, the youngest son of Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and his wife Sophie attended part of the rehearsal for the play The King’s Speech at the Divadlo pod Palmovkou theatre in Prague on Wednesday morning. The play is based on an episode in the life of Prince Edward’s grandfather George VI. The royal couple are on a private three-day visit to the Czech Republic, and were received by President Miloš Zeman and his wife on Tuesday.
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