Two hundred and 36 people died on Czech roads between January and June this year, which is the lowest number for that period of the year since 1970, the police said on Thursday. Nearly 40,300 traffic accidents occurred in the first six months of 2013, which was some 1,200 more than in the same period last year. Poor driving and speeding were the most frequent causes, according to the police.
Police sniffer dogs uncovered two tiger skeletons concealed in wooden speaker boxes at Prague airport, the Czech Environmental Inspection said. The skeletons were probably on their way to a country in Asia where they could fetch some 24,000 US dollars, according to the inspectors. The police are looking for the owners of the contraband, who could face up to three years in jail.
An interim government headed by Jiří Rusnok, an economist and adviser to
President Miloš Zeman, was sworn in by the president at Prague Castle on
Wednesday. The caretaker government will have 30 days to win a confidence
vote in the lower house of Parliament. So far, most parliamentary parties
have said they will not support this government. If it fails to win
backing, President Miloš Zeman can task a new prime minister with forming
a new cabinet.
During the swearing-in ceremony the president said that one of the main goals of the government was to prevent political influence in ongoing police investigations and to secure the independence of the court system.
The previous government of Petr Nečas, which was supposed to remain in power until next spring, fell last month after the prime minister’s close aide was charged in connection with a spying and corruption scandal.
Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok will begin to gather support in parliament for his newly appointed government starting next week. Speaking after officially taking over the office of the government from his predecessor Petr Nečas on Wednesday, Mr. Rusnok said his cabinet will now be working on a program statement. The outgoing prime minister handed over the one of the keys to the coronation jewels and said that he respects Mr. Rusnok as an expert in his field.
Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies, Miroslava Němcová, did not remain for a celebratory toast after the official part of the swearing-in ceremony of the new government, where she was invited as one of the top constitutional officials in the country. In an interview for the news server iDnes.cz later on Wednesday, Mrs. Němcová said she thinks the Jiří Rusnok’s government is dangerous and that she did not want to pretend to wish the new cabinet well. She said she felt it was her duty to attend the ceremony, and wanted to remind the president and the new government that they do not have the support of the lower house of parliament. The former center-right ruling coalition nominated Mrs. Němcová for the post of prime minister instead of Petr Nečas, before President Zeman called on Jiří Rusnok to form a technocrat government.
The police asked former Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Wednesday to come in for questioning this Friday. Mr. Nečas will most likely be questioned in connection with two cases, which the organized crime unit has been investigating: one involves the former prime minister’s chief-of-staff Jana Nagyová who is suspected of using military intelligence resources to spy on Mr. Nečas’s wife. He is also suspected of offering non-monetary bribes to three former MPs, a charge Mr. Nečas has denied. The Olomouc High State Attorney submitted a request to the lower house of parliament earlier this week requesting Petr Nečas to be stripped of his immunity, so he could be charged. The Mandate and Immunity committee of the lower house will begin reviewing the request next week.
While it had initially appeared unlikely that the Rusnok government could win a vote of confidence, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday that such an outcome may after all be possible. The newspaper said it had spoken to all members of the lower house in recent days (apart from two who are in prison) and found that none of the parties represented had a united position on the caretaker cabinet. While 112 of the 198 deputies surveyed said they were opposed to it, a number of them – particularly in the Social Democrats – said their positions could change.
The Czech Republic’s gross government dept decreased in the second quarter of this year by 37.5 billion crowns to 1.678 trillion. One of the main reasons for the decline was the repayment of 62.9-billion-crowns worth of state-issued bonds. Although this is a significant quarterly decrease, the debt did increase in comparison to December of last year by 10.5 billion crowns.
World famous jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will perform with the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Orchestra on Wednesday night at the Municipal House in Prauge. The concert is part of the Prague Proms musical program that includes both classical music and jazz performances. As part of the Proms series, Prague audience had a chance to hear actor and singer F. Murray Abraham earlier this month. Prague Proms are also host a free open-air concert on Wenceslas Square on Sunday evening.