American actor F. Murray Abraham – best-known in the Czech Republic for his Oscar-winning performance as composer Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (Miloš Forman, 1984), will head to Karlovy Vary on Thursday for the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. On Wednesday evening Mr Abraham is performing at the Prague Proms; organisers of both festivals were able to ensure he would attend Karlovy Vary as well. He and cinematographer Miroslav Ondřícek will present Czech costume designer Theodor Pištěk (who, like Mr Abraham, received an Oscar for Amadeus) with a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. F. Murray Abraham has starred in dozens of film productions throughout his career including Scarface and the sci-fi thriller Mimic. In 1990 he played the title role in a TV version of Václav Havel’s Largo Desolato.
Oscar-winning American filmmaker Oliver Stone arrived on Tuesday for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival underway since last week. Mr Stone, the director of acclaimed films like Wall Street and Platoon, is to receive a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. In addition to directing, Oliver Stone has written a number of acclaimed scripts including Midnight Express (for which he received his first Oscar) and True Romance (directed by the late Tony Scott).
The No. 7 seed, Tomáš Berdych, lost his quarter-final at Wimbledon on Wednesday against Novak Djokovic. He and the World No. 1 played a tight first set but the Czech player gave up a number of easy points and lost the tie-break to give the Serbian the set. In the second, Berdych broke Djokovic’s serve twice to take an early 3:0 lead, but the latter recovered and eventually won the second set as well. In the third, Djokovic dominated and gave his opponent few chances. The final score was 7:6, 6:4, 6:3. Berdych has now faced Novak Djokovic on 16 occasions – and won only twice.
Top Czech women’s tennis player Petra Kvitová was defeated in the quarter-finals at the Wimbledon Championships on Tuesday by Belgian player Kirsten Flipkens. Although she won the first set, Kvitová was handily beaten in the second and allowed Flipkens to serve for the match in the third after making a crucial mistake at 4:4. The final score was 6:4, 3:6, 4:6. Kvitová expressed deep disappointment afterwards in an interview for iDnes: she was the highest-seeded player left in her half of the field, and some had suggested she could go as far as the final, which she won in 2011. Flipkens, the 20th seed, will face Marion Bartoli in the semis.
The Constitution Court has struck down a number of measures from the recent health care and insurance reforms on Tuesday, including the division into standard and above-standard level of health care. The court ruled on a complaint submitted by 51 Social Democratic MPs challenging some elements of the outgoing government’s health insurance reform. The court ruled that providing options of standard and above-standard care by healthcare practitioners, as well as the raising the daily hospital stay fees from 60 to 100 crowns was not described in the law appropriately. The above-standard treatment program was introduced over a year ago, to allow patients to pay extra for treatment or materials which were more expensive than the standard of care. The program met with fairly little interest from the public.
Natural scientist and the head of research and development department at the education ministry, Dalibor Štys, will become the next education minister in the caretaker government of Prime Minister Designate Jiří Rusnok. Since being given the task of putting together a caretaker cabinet last Tuesday by President Zeman, Mr. Rusnok has secured 10 ministers, though key positions remain unfilled, including the posts of the minister of finance and minister of industry and trade. Mr. Rusnok is hoping he will complete the list of names by the end of the week, or Monday at the latest, so he can take it to the president next week for confirmation. His choices for ministers have been criticized on both sides of the aisle in the lower house of parliament, who say the technocrat cabinet is made up of friends of the president, not experts.
Ronald Adams, the former head of the Tatra truck company, is standing trial on charges of corruption. Mr. Adams is suspected of having offered a 20 million crown bribe in connection with the delivery of Tatra off-road vehicles to the Czech military. The accusation against him was raised by former defense minister Martin Bartak, who himself faces charges in the case. Mr. Adams has admitted to making the offer, but claims he was only bluffing in order to test defense ministry officials.
The anti-corruption police have once again charged the founder and director of the private Metropolitan University Prague, Anna Benešová, and two other people with fraud, in connection with a 2-million dollar contract from 2008. According to the police, Ms. Benešová provided misleading information to the board of directors of the university about equipment necessary for the school and approved an overpriced deal. One of the other people accused in the same case is the head of the board of directors, Petr Haluza. Mrs. Benešová received a suspended two-year sentence in 2011 for causing 6-million-crown damages to the school, by allowing a number of students to study for free; she was granted a presidential pardon last year by then president Václav Klaus.
The police are investigating a man who allegedly gave a 50,000-crown bribe to a football player from one of teams in the country’s top Gambrinus league to under-perform in a match last year. The police have not released the name of the person under investigation, but a number of news sites, including iDnes.cz and Aktuálně.cz servers, have reported that sources in football circles speculate that it may be Roman Rogoz, manager of the Příbram team. This newest scandal comes only months after the anti-corruption police charged three people in connection with alleged bribery at a Gambrinus league match in the previous season. That case is still open, and the police have not confirmed the names of the accused.
The state Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority have been carrying out an extraordinary inspection of chicken meat in Czech stores imported from Poland throughout Tuesday, after inspections in Slovakia revealed that imported meat from Polish farms contained medications that are banned in the European Union. The screenings are looking specifically for the drug called metronidazol, which is prohibited from being used for animals.