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Prague leadership declares will to preserve ruling coalition

The parties of the coalition governing Prague have declared the will to preserve the alliance which is under severe strain following internal fighting and the dismissal of four councilors last month. The four were voted off the council in a stormy session which observers later described as a tit-for-tat war between the ANO party, the Social Democrats and the three-way coalition of Greens, Christian Democrats, and the STAN group of mayors and independents. Coalition representatives met on Tuesday to clarify their stands regarding the future of the alliance. A scheduled meeting of the Prague leadership will thus go ahead as planned on Thursday.

PM wants legal analysis on process of selecting new head of police’s internal affairs unit

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has requested a legal analysis with regard to the process of selecting a new head of the Czech police’s internal affairs unit GIBS following the resignation of its head Ivan Bílek. The prime minister said he wanted a strong and independent director who would resist lobbying from business groups and politicians. Mr. Bílek announced his resignation on Monday in connection with an extensive anti-corruption investigation in which the police charged four people, including two high ranking police officers with bribery and abuse of office.

Former prison service head succeeds with complaint against his dismissal

Justice Minister Robert Pelikán has concluded that the complaint filed by the former head of the Czech Prison Service Petr Dohnal regarding his dismissal from office is justified. Dohnal was dismissed for incompetence by the former justice minister Helena Válkova. He said Válková had blamed him for mistakes made by the previous management and argued that his dismissal was unsubstantiated and illegal. The present situation presents a legal problem and could leave the country with two heads of the prison service.

Shadow economy makes up 15 percent of Czech GDP

The shadow economy makes up 15 percent of the Czech GDP, according to data released by the Czech Statistics Office. Transactions to the tune of 614 billion crowns annually go untaxed. In addition to large-scale VAT evasion this concerns undeclared income from smaller transactions in cash for services provided. According to the Centre for Economic and Market Analyses the overall sum lost to state revenues could help create 1.5 million new jobs.

Czech unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent in third quarter

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic has dropped to 4.9 percent and is the lowest since 2008, according to data released by the Czech Statistics Office. In the third quarter labour offices registered just over 257,000 unemployed, down by 55,000 compared to the same period last year. According to analysts the figures confirm the revitalization of the Czech economy which is in its best shape since the global crisis.

Road pirate sentenced to 15 years in prison

A road pirate who intentionally forced a van off the road has been sentenced to 15.5 years in prison for attempted murder, the ctk news agency reports. In 2013 the driver of a Jaguar, angry at being held up, forced a van with six passengers off the road causing it to crash through the road safety fence. Two people were seriously injured in the accident. The fifteen year sentence is the highest ever served for road piracy which is a serious problem in the Czech Republic. The verdict is not legally binding.

More foreigners seeking medical care in Czech Republic

An increasing number of foreigners are coming to the Czech Republic for medical treatment, the news site aktualne.cz reports. According to the site the number of foreigners undergoing treatment at Czech clinics and hospitals has grown by a fifth in the past three years. The highest interest is in eye operations, plastic surgery, assisted reproduction and joint replacement surgery. The Czech health system offers a high standard of care at a lower cost compared to most West European states.

Czech entertainer Karel Gott diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Ivana Gottová, the wife of singer Karel Gott, confirmed on facebook on Monday that her husband has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The announcement came after Mr Gott fell ill last week and was taken to hospital where he underwent emergency abdominal surgery. Initially, it was reported he had suffered a heart attack. According to Gottová, her husband had already been transferred to a new facility and has begun treatment. At 76, Gott remains one of the most well-known figures in Czech show business; as a result of developments, planned concerts and an appearance by the singer at the upcoming Slavík awards have been cancelled.

Defender Limberský back in action

Defender David Limberský has been nominated to play in the national team’s upcoming friendlies against Poland and Serbia. The player who was stripped of his captaincy over a drink-driving incident in September was suspended from the national representations in two previous games –against Turkey and the Netherlands - but it now seems that the punishment meted out by coach Pavel Vrba is over.

Krejčí third-most productive player in NHL in opening month

Boston Bruins’forward David Krejčí was named third star of the month of October in the National Hockey League, behind Dallas’ Jamie Benn and Montreal goalie Carey Price. The Czech centre racked up 15 points in 10 games to become the third-most productive player in the NHL. The 29-year-old has scored seven goals and gotten eight assists so far.