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Police to be out in force for November 17 events

Police will be out in force on November 17 to maintain law and order in view of the record number of street gatherings and demonstrations being held on the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. According to Prague City Hall, 24 events are officially registered, of that nine marches through the city.

Commemorative events will traditionally take place at Národní třída, where communist police cracked down on a peaceful student march 28 years ago, Wenceslas Square and Albertov, which witnessed a brutal crack-down on Czech university students on November 17, 1989. Police reinforcements are being sent to Prague from the regions and drivers have been warned to expect traffic restrictions in the city centre.

Zeman says health speculation pre-election campaign against him

President Miloš Zeman has described speculation about his state of health as a campaign against him in the run-up to a presidential election in January. In an interview published on the news site iDnes.cz, the head of state said his only health problem was neuropathy that made it difficult for him to walk.

Mr. Zeman said he had used a wheelchair once and this had caused a storm but he did not expect to need one regularly for 10 or more years. He said he would not publish a complete medical report on his health as he had done so before in the form of statements from his doctors.

The Office of the President is suing a local politician in Brno who said Mr. Zeman was suffering from cancer and had only months to live.

Rusnok: interest rates should be around 3 percent in two years’ time

The fiscal policy of the Czech National Bank should stabilize in the coming year or two, bringing interest rates to around 3 percent, the bank’s governor Jiří Rusnok said on Thursday. Rusnok said that inflation growth estimated at around 2 percent would spur the return to normal. A two percent inflation would mean interest rates of around 3 percent, Rusnok said.

Interest rates in the country have been at a record low for years. The central bank last raised the basic rate at the beginning of November raising it by 0.25 to 0.5 percent.

Police shelve Kvitová investigation

Police say they have shelved the investigation into an attack on tennis star Petra Kvitová in December of last year due to lack of evidence. Although the Prostějov tennis club offered a reward of $3,850 for information leading to the arrest of the attacker and the police received several hundred tips from the public, none of them helped move the investigation forward.

Kvitová was attacked in her home in Prostějov last December, by an unknown assailant who entered her apartment under the guise of checking a utility meter. She sustained severe injuries to her left hand as she fought for her life. After undergoing surgery and rehabilitation she made her comeback at the French Open this year.

National Gallery boss takes president to Constitutional Court over professorship

The director of the Czech National Gallery, Jiří Fajt, has filed a complaint against President Miloš Zeman at the Constitutional Court over the latter’s refusal to appoint him professor, Lidovky.cz reported on Thursday. Lower courts have in the past rejected similar complaints from Mr. Fajt.

Mr. Zeman refused to sign decrees making Mr. Fajt and two others professors, citing what he said were serious transgressions in their pasts. In Mr. Fajt’s case, the president said his salary at the National Gallery had been supplemented by a bank. The former said this claim was untrue and accused Mr. Zeman of wilful behaviour.

Hepatitis epidemic in Ustí nad Labem

The health authorities are struggling to contain a hepatitis epidemic in Ustí nad Labem, north of Prague.

Doctors report 30 new cases in the last 6 days alone. Altogether 276 people have contracted the infectious disease in different parts of the city. Of the 30 new cases seventeen are children.

Vaccinations are underway in schools and the locals have been asked to take precautions when visiting crowded places, such as supermarkets and public transport. Doctors say it may take up to two months to contain the epidemic.

Weather forecast

Friday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with rain or snow showers around the country and day temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.