The South Moravian branch of the Social Democrats will meet on Monday to discuss the fate of three of the five party rebels who publicly lied about a meeting with President Miloš Zeman at which they are believed to have planned to oust party leader Bohuslav Sobotka. The attempt to remove Mr. Sobotka from the head of the party failed and the rebels involved were publicly humiliated. The governor of South Bohemia Jiří Zimola has already resigned from the party leadership, the others say they want to defend themselves on home ground and will respect the recommendation made by their regional party branch.
The Interior Ministry wants to station specially trained police officers in the country’s slums, according to a report presented to the government on Friday. The move comes in the wake of rising petty crime in poverty-ridden areas of the country and growing tension between its inhabitants and the majority population. There are presently between 300 and 400 slums in the Czech Republic with an estimated 80,000 inhabitants, the greater part of them Romanies. It is not clear how many specialists would be needed but the ministry envisaged training around 50 a year.
The late Jiří Hájek, a leading member of the Czech dissent and one of the first spokespersons of Charter 77 was not decorated on October 28th as planned because his son refused to take part in the official ceremony and to receive the decoration from President Miloš Zeman, the Office of the President confirmed on Friday. The president’s spokeswoman said the president considered Jíří Hájek Jr’s request that it should be sent by post insulting. Hájek Jr made it clear that he did not want to participate in the prize-awarding ceremony at the Prague Castle because he was critical of President Zeman's activities. Rock singer and musician Vladimir Mišík also refused to receive the state decoration from the president.
Police around Europe have cracked down on an international ring producing false identity papers for several countries, detaining 26 people. Seven people were detained in the operation on Czech territory and six have been charged with forgery and money-laundering, including three Armenian nationals who reportedly headed the operation. False IDs were sold to Germany, Austria, France, Norway and Sweden for the price of 300 to 600 euro apiece.
The Globe and Mail has voiced reservations regarding the appointment of Czech-born Otto Jelínek as Canada’s ambassador to the Czech Republic. The paper says the communist refugee, world-champion figure skater and Mulroney era cabinet minister returned to the Czech Republic in 1994 where he spent 18 years and developed a wide range of business and personal connections which questions his ability to represent and advocate for Canada. The Globe and Mail moreover points out that Mr. Jelínek was associated with a still unresolved corruption scandal linked to the suspect acquisition of fighter jets for the Czech military.
The section between Kačerov and Háje on the C line of the Prague metro will be closed for track maintenance for the first two weekends in November, the Prague city transport authority has announced. The closures will take place from Friday evening 6pm till early Monday morning. Replacement busses will be available along the given stretch. Information will be available at each station in English and German.
The Czech state budget deficit grew to 47.7 billion crowns in October from September´s 38.2 billion, according to a Finance Ministry report released on Friday. It is the best result for October since 2008. The state budget deficit for 2013 has been projected at 100 billion crowns but Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok said last month that thanks to money from EU funds, the budget gap this year could be much lower than projected.
The Supreme Court has ruled that three former Civic Democratic Party MPs – Petr Tluchoř, Marek Šnajdr, and Ivan Fuksa – cannot be prosecuted for alleged corruption, saying parliamentary immunity covered actions outside the lower house. The three are suspected of receiving bribes in the form of lucrative posts in state companies in return for having allowed the former government to survive. The decision follows a similar ruling by the court earlier this year. In its ruling, the Supreme Court turned down a proposal by state prosecutor Ivo Ištvan who had tried to push ahead with criminal proceedings against the three. By contrast, the Supreme Court ruled that the former prime minister, Petr Nečas, could still be charged.
Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka will lead the talks on forming a
new Czech government for the time being, as the party had not yet agreed
on a new negotiating team, Mr Sobotka and deputy chairman Milan Chovanec
reporters on Thursday. Only the party’s central executive committee, due
to meet on November 10, will be able to approve the final team, they said.
The party leader also apologised to voters for developments since last
Saturday’s election, when 20 members called on Mr Sobotka to resign over
a weaker-than-expected election result.
Above all, Mr Sobotka stressed the party would move quickly to resolve a current split, not wanting to complicate party talks. The Social Democrats are to lead negotiations primarily with two other parties, ANO and the Christian Democrats. Together they could form a coalition commanding a comfortable majority of 111 in the 200-seat lower house.
Halloween has continued to gain in popularity among Czech pre-schoolers and schoolchildren, according to Czech Radio. Increasingly, various towns, nursery schools, as well as private venues hold events; this year, zoos and botanical gardens are among those to have prepared special programmes for children including pumpkin carving, lantern processions and masquerade balls, Czech Radio said.
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery