Gun owners with legally-held firearms in the Czech Republic may soon be allowed to draw and use weapons in the case of a terrorist attack or other security situation, after a bill amending gun legislation received a constitutional majority on Wednesday in the lower house. One hundred and thirty-nine of 168 lawmakers present voted in favour. The bill is considered, at least in part, reaction to tightened restrictions on guns by the EU. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, who pushed for the bill in Czech parliament, said it showed trust in owners of legally-held weapons; in the past, lobbying for the bill, he argued the law would be useful in such cases as the lorry attacks in Nice and Berlin where armed police might not be available. The proposal had been dismissed by critics as paving the way for a Wild West. The bill will now go to the Senate.
A poll conducted by the Median agency in June is the latest to suggest that if elections were held today, they would be won by ANO headed by former finance minister Andrej Babiš. According to the survey, ANO would win 27.5 percent, while the Communist Party would finish second, on 15.5. The Social Democrats, the senior party in government currently, would secure 14 percent and finish third. Other parties to make it into the lower house, would be the current opposition parties the Civic Democrats and TOP 09. The coalition of the Christian Democrats and the STAN party of independents and mayors would be nine percent – below the 10 percent threshold needed for the coalition to make it into the lower house.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with Japan’s crown prince Naruhito on Wednesday as part of his official visit to Japan which continues until Friday. The heir apparent, expected to take over from his father Emperor Akihito who is 83 and in worsening health, visited Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. The Czech prime minister said after the meeting that the future emperor had a strong knowledge and a continuing interest in Czech culture and had discussed changes the Czech Republic had undergone since his visit. The prime minister added that there was a good chance the crown prince would visit the Czech Republic in the future.
The Czech police and Albanian authorities are looking into suspected corruption involving the Czech power company CEZ, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. The investigation is centred on the allegation that CEZ transferred nearly EUR 7 million to the account of an Albanian lobbyist in 2009, shortly after it took control of a power distributor in Albania. The local police believe the money may have been later used as kickbacks for politicians and officials. CEZ pulled out of Albania three years ago after the deal ended in the arbitration courts and caused friction between Prague and Tirana.
Health officials have confirmed a rise in the number of case of sexually-transmitted diseases, specifically in syphilis and gonorrhoea, in the Czech Republic. HIV infections have also gone up. The findings were reported by doctors at Prague’s Bulovka Hospital on Wednesday; the facility’s Filip Rob said the number of patients treated repeatedly for STDS had also risen; he stressed that it was not uncommon that some male patients had been treated for STDS seven or eight times.
Uma Thurman, one of the main stars invited to the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival which begins Friday, will personally present special outdoor screenings of Quentin Tarantino’s revenge opus Kill Bill I and Kill Bill II. Thurman had the main role of The Bride in the two-part film, which also starred Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen and the late David Carradine. Thurman will arrive in Karlovy Vary on the festival’s opening night and will receive the festival’s President’s Award.
Thursday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain; daytime highs are expected to drop to around only 21 degrees Celsius.