Saturday marks the 135th anniversary of the foundation of the Social Democratic Party, which is today the Czech Republic’s largest left-wing grouping. The party was established at the Kaštan house of culture in the Prague district of Břevnov on April 7 1878 as part of the Austrian Social Democrats. Present-day leaders laid a wreath at the still-functioning Kaštan on Friday, while on Saturday an anniversary ball is being held at the National House in Prague’s Vinohrady district.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg, has raised the possibility of a deal with President Miloš Zeman on the appointment of ambassadors, an issue on which the two men have been at loggerheads. In a newspaper interview, Mr. Schwarzenberg said he would propose Communist Party MEP and former cosmonaut Vladimír Remek, who enjoys Mr. Zeman’s support, for the post of envoy to Moscow, if the president approved his suggestions for other ambassadorial positions. In a separate interview, the foreign minister said former defence minister Alexandr Vondra would make a good ambassador to Israel. However, he has insisted that former first lady Lidia Klausová, who Mr. Zeman is pushing, is not qualified to become Czech ambassador to Bratislava.
The Czech soccer captain Tomáš Rosický scored both goals for Arsenal in a 2:1 win over West Bromwich Albion in an English Premier League game on Saturday. They were his first league goals of the season. The midfielder, who is 32, had headed a shot of the line to prevent a West Brom lead when the score stood at 0:0. Rosický has said he will consider his future at Arsenal in the summer, after not being a regular starter this term.
A 56-year-old woman died from methanol poisoning in a hospital in Orlová, north Moravia on Friday. She was the 25th victim of methanol poisoning in the Moravia-Silesia Region, while over 40 people have died around the Czech Republic since the first such death last summer. The Ministry of Health imposed a ban on sales of all spirits for a two-week period in September in a bid to deal with a health crisis stemming from illegally-produced poisonous booze. Police are still warning against the consumption of old bottles of spirits and of alcohol of uncertain provenance lacking the correct stamps.
The Romanian government has decided to limit support for existing renewable energy providers and to halt funding for any new projects. This decision will affect the Czech company ČEZ which owns a wind farm in the country. The energy giant has lost its energy distribution license in Albania in January, and its operations in Bulgaria have been under investigation for the past two months.
The district attorney for Prague 1 concluded on Friday that Prime Minister Petr Nečas did not commit a crime by co-signing the presidential amnesty announced on New Year’s day. The attorney’s office thus decided not to pursue the complaint filed against Mr Nečas by the chairman of the Czech senate, Milan Štěch, and senator Miroslav Antl. The two Social Democratic lawmakers argued that Petr Nečas should not have co-signed the amnesty initiated by the former president Václav Klaus without first receiving approval from his cabinet. The premier is also facing another complaint over the amnesty that was filed a by a group headed by the billionaire Karel Janeček.
Defending Davis Cup champions, the Czech Republic, are leading in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Kazakhstan, after Jan Hájek beat Michail Kukushin in three sets in the first match in Astana. Lukáš Rosol added an important second point by defeating Andrei Golubov: the final score was 4:6, 6:4, 6:2, 7:6. In the doubles match on Saturday, Radek Štěpánek and Ivo Minář will play the Kazakhstani pair Yuri Schukin, Evgeny Korolev.
The Czech Post is launching a new online service that would provide exact daily gas prices at petrol stations around the country. The postal service created the project with the Industry and Trade Ministry according to the Hospodářské noviny daily, and will rely on the information that letter carriers will gather on their daily routes.
After months of preparations, the state prosecutor’s office has filed a lawsuit against former Central Bohemian governor and MP David Rath and ten other defendants, accusing them of corruption and abuse of office; if found guilty, Mr Rath faces up to 12 years in prison. Because of the considerable amount of evidence and documentation involved in the case, the court hearings will most likely only begin in the summer. The former governor remains in custody but could be allowed on bail by the Prague regional court.
Christie’s auction house in New York sold works by famous 20th century Czech photographers Josef Sudek and Jaroslav Rössler for a total of 143,750 dollars, or 2.9 million crowns. Photographs by two other Czech greats František Drtikol and Jaromír Funk were not auctioned off. The works by the four artists were part of a larger private collection. František Drtikol nonetheless remains the top-selling Czech photographer abroad, with his photograph A Snow Wave having been sold for 312 thousand dollars six years ago in New York.
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