The Private Entrepreneurs’ Party has filed a criminal complaint against the shadow finance minister, Jan Mládek, over a public statement in which he characterized self-employed owners of small businesses as parasites who exploit their employees and fail to contribute to the social security system. Mr Mládek, who made the statement at the Social Democratic Party’s weekend conference, has since apologized for his words saying his criticism had in actual fact been targeted against the government which set down a framework under which small businesses had excessively generous tax privileges. The shadow finance minister’s words caused an uproar and the chairman of the opposition Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, clearly distanced himself from the statement, apologizing on Mr. Mladek’s behalf.
President Miloš Zeman will attend Wednesday’s session of the government and visit the upper chamber, the Senate, on Thursday, his office said on Monday. The president announced earlier he would be more active in this respect than his predecessors, Vaclav Klaus and Vaclav Havel who only made exceptional appearances at the Office of the Government. President Zeman said he planned to use his prerogative to attend government sessions whenever the cabinet dealt with issues he felt strongly about.
President Miloš Zeman will visit Slovakia on April 4-5, the office of the Slovak president confirmed on Monday. He is expected to hold talks with his host, President Ivan Gašparovič, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and the Speaker of Parliament Pavel Paško. According to Prime Minister Fico, President Zeman is popular with the Slovak public and has many friends in the country. President Zeman is credited with improving Czech-Slovak relations in the years between 1998 and 2002 when he headed the then Czech government.
A taxi driver burnt to death in his car near Prague’s Malostranská metro station after losing control of the vehicle and hitting a street lamp in the early hours of Monday. An eyewitness says he ran to help the man but the door was stuck and the car was engulfed in flames within seconds. The fire spread to a nearby traffic stand before firefighters got the situation under control. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda said that he does not expect the Civic Democrat's partner in the city council, the TOP 09 party, to abandoned the coalition once the conciliation procedure ends on Monday. During the Sunday talk show Questions with Vaclav Moravec, the mayor said that problems surrounding one of the points of contention - the financing for the construction of a major tunnel called Blanka - should be resolved by the end of April, when the city will finish checking questionable invoices. Mr Svoboda said that if TOP 09 were to abandoned the coalition now, as it has threatened to do during the conciliation proceedings in the past two week, it would send a bad signal to voters.
Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, has requested to revoke the Czech state-owned energy company ČEZ's distribution license in the country, citing deplorable pricing tactics that were revealed during a month-long investigation into the firm. ČEZ denies the allegations and said it did not yet receive the findings. Investigations into Czech and Austrian energy distributors in Bulgaria were triggered by massive street protests over high energy prices in January.
The shadow finance minister, Jan Mládek, apologized for his statement made at the Social Democratic Party Congress on Saturday, in which he characterized self-employed owners of small businesses as parasites who exploit their employees and fail to contribute to the social security system. In a press release, Mr Mládek said that his statement was misinterpreted and that the government, not the entrepreneurs, is the parasite that is ineffective in collecting taxes. Earlier, the chairman of the opposition Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, distanced himself from the statement of his colleague, following criticism from Prime Minister Petr Nečas.
Police in Ostrava have arrested a three-member gang that was responsible for a series of car thefts in the region, costing a total of around two million crowns. The police had been working on apprehending the gang for nine months. One of the men, who was allegedly commissioned by the other suspect, stole the vehicles together with his female companion. He is suspected on 24 counts of theft, while the woman has been charged in 22 cases.
The band Kryštof won two prizes at this year's Anděl music awards. Judges awarded the Band of the Year and Album of the Year prizes to the band, which was founded twenty years ago, at the Saturday evening ceremony in Prague. Aneta Langerová, who won the first season of the TV show Czech SuperStar in 2004, was selected as the best female singer of 2012, and Vojtěch Dyk of Nightwork as the best male singer. The folk-rock band Zrní was awarded the Best Newcomer of the year prize.
Interior and furniture designers Lucie Koldová a Dan Yeffet were awarded the top prize at the Czech Grand Design ceremony on Saturday evening. The annually held Czech Grand Design competition was created seven years ago to draw attention to young up-and-coming Czech designers and photographers. This year's winners in eight categories received the awards in the form of silver and gold sticks with cotton candy on them.