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Finance Minister: Budget could be balanced by 2017

The Czech Republic could be running a balanced state budget by 2017, the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, said on a Czech Television politics show on Sunday afternoon. The ANO party chief said for that to be achieved planned tax collection measures would have to be successful. This year’s budget is running at a deficit of CZK 112 billion while the centre-left government is proposing a deficit of CZK 100 billion in 2015.

Protocol chief: Winton may come to Prague to receive highest Czech honour

Sir Nicholas Winton, who is 105, may travel from the UK to Prague to receive in person a Czech state honour. Sir Nicholas saved the lives of nearly 700 Prague Jewish children during World War II and is set to be presented with the Order of the White Lion, the Czech Republic’s highest state honour. Prague Castle protocol chief Jindřich Forejt told Czech Television he had spoken to the former diplomat in London on Saturday and that the latter had said he would come to the Czech capital for the award ceremony on October 28, which is Czechoslovak Independence Day, if he could.

Poster protesting more conciliatory approach to China hung on Havel’s old building

A huge poster of Václav Havel and the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama created to protest against the current government’s more conciliatory approach to China has been hung on the facade of the apartment building where the late Czech president lived on Prague’s Rašínovo nábřeží and where his brother Ivan M. Havel still resides. The poster had been hung by former Greens leader and current LES chairman Martin Bursík on his building by the Czech lower house after Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek signed a declaration in China saying that Tibet was an integral part of the country. Václav Havel supported human rights in China and was friends with the Dalai Lama.

Pro-Russian separatist arrested by Ukrainian secret service from Brno?

The Ukrainian secret service has arrested a pro-Russian separatist who may be Czech, the news website iDnes.cz reported, quoting a report on the Ukrainian site Korrespondent.net. The man is nicknamed “the Czech” and there have been reports that he is a Brno resident named Ivo Stejskal who travelled to the region to support the separatists. However, the Ukrainian secret service issued a statement saying the detained man was Russian. The arrest was made in the Kherson Oblast, which borders with Crimea.

Stretch of city centre tram line reopened after two months

A busy tram line that runs through the centre of Prague has been reopened after two months. Service has been renewed between Jindřišská and Lazarská after a 50-million crown project to repair lines and enable wheelchair access at the latter tram stop. The nearby section of line between the corner of Myslíková and Spálená streets and Karlovo náměstí has now been closed for renovation work that will run until August 9.

Mountain biker Kulhavý completes remarkable hat-trick with marathon win

Czech rider Jaroslav Kulhavý has come first in the Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in South Africa’s Pietermaritzburg. The win makes the 29-year-old the first cyclist to have won a hat-trick of World Championships, Olympic and Marathon World Championships medals. Kulhavý’s compatriot Tereza Huříková, who is reigning European champion, came third in the women’s race in Pietermaritzburg.

Cycling team express support for Kreuziger

The Tinkoff-Saxo cycling team say they fully support member Roman Kreuziger, who could face Union Cycliste Internationale disciplinary proceedings over abnormalities in his biological passport. Tinkoff-Saxo general manger Stefano Feltrin expressed surprise over how long the matter, which dates back to 2011 and 2012, had been dragging on. The team previously said they would not enter Kreuziger in any events, including the imminent Tour de France, until the issue is resolved. The Czech denies taking banned substances.