Coalition leaders are set to meet Sunday evening to discuss ongoing personnel issues within the cabinet. While junior coalition member Public Affairs has announced they will try to push through four ministerial posts for their party, Prime Minister Petr Nečas has made it clear that for the government coalition to survive, it is vital that its key reforms be passed. Coalition leaders of the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 and Public Affairs parties had already met on Thursday. However, the meeting did not produce a conclusive solution to the ongoing personnel issues within the three-party government coalition. In May, a corruption scandal within Public Affairs led the government into a serious crisis and caused a cabinet shake-up.
Agriculture Minister Ivan Fuksa, in a Sunday appearance on Czech
Television, apologized for a statement he made earlier this week regarding
the cucumber scare. He had said on Tuesday that fresh produce could
theoretically be tampered with in any distributor’s storage facilities.
On Sunday, he apologized for this statement, adding that it could
negatively affect the business of distributors of fresh fruit and
vegetables. The head of the Czech Agrarian Chamber, Jan Veleba, said he
welcomed the minister’s apology.
Nearly twenty people have died from a mutated E.coli bacterium infection in neighboring Germany; cucumbers were shown not to be the source of the infection. Which foods exactly have caused the bacterial outbreaks across Europe is yet unclear.
On Sunday, a Czech army plane brought the remains of a soldier who was killed by a roadside bomb in the Afghan province of Wardak on Tuesday morning to Prague. Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra, along with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic Vlastimil Picek and other high-ranking military officials were in attendance at the military airport at Prague-Kbely, where a memorial ceremony in honor of the dead soldier was held. Along with the soldier, an Afghan interpreter was also killed in the roadside bombing. Another two Czech soldiers were injured in the attack.
The season finale of the popular TV singing competition Czechoslovak SuperStar will be broadcast live from Prague’s Incheba Arena on Sunday night. The finalists, Czech contestant Gabriela Gunčíková and Slovak contestant Lukáš Adamec, will be fighting to win the favor of the audience, along with a cash prize of 100,000 euro, or around 2.4 million Czech crowns. The two will compete in a total of three categories. Some 11,000 Czechs and Slovaks participated in this year’s Czechoslovak SuperStar competition. This year’s season was the second to take place in the two countries.
Some 15,000 visitors are expected to attend a concert by the Swedish group Roxette at Prague’s O2 arena on Sunday night. Roxette will be performing songs from their 2011 album Charm School, along with old hits. Because the concert in Prague sold out, the duo added another show in the Moravian city of Ostrava to the Czech leg of their tour. Their music is very popular in the Czech Republic; Charm School took the Czech album charts by storm when it came out in February. Roxette last played in the Czech Republic in 2001. Their 2011 tour spans four continents.
The Czech Republic’s footballers drew 0:0 with Peru in the Kirin Cup in Japan on Saturday. The Czechs, without several regular starters, were sloppy in the first half – when goalkeeper Petr Čech denied the Peruvians with a fine reflex save – before rallying somewhat in the second. Their next game in the annual three-nation, brewery-sponsored competition is against hosts Japan on Tuesday.
Viktoria Žižkov have been promoted to the first division of the Czech soccer league. The Prague side secured a return to the top flight after a two-year absence with a 1:0 win over Most in the penultimate round of the season on Saturday. With Dukla Prague already promoted, there will be five teams from the Czech capital in the top tier next season, including Sparta, Bohemians 1905 and Slavia.
Ahead of a meeting of coalition leaders, junior coalition partner Public Affairs have announced that the party will insist on four ministerial posts in the current three-party coalition government. The party’s de-facto leader Vít Bárta told the daily Právo that unless personnel questions within the coalition are resolved in a satisfactory way, Public Affairs is prepared to leave the government coalition. After a corruption scandal within Public Affairs led the government into a serious crisis in May, the party’s chairman, Radek John, was forced to resign from his post as interior minister. The three coalition parties, the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs, are set to further discuss the cabinet’s personnel on Sunday.
In related news, the deputy chairman of the TOP 09 party, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Saturday that he considered Víta Bárta’s statement regarding personnel changes an ultimatum. Mr. Kalousek, who is one of five TOP 09 ministers in the current three-party, right-of-center government coalition, added that issuing such a statement a day ahead of negotiations with coalition leaders was inappropriate. He said he is not willing to give in to the junior coalition member’s demands.
The 66th Prague Spring international classical music festival comes to a close on Saturday night with a special event – the first performance in the Czech capital in five years by the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra is conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, husband of Czech opera star Magdalena Kožená. The programme of the Prague Spring, which began on May 12, has featured over three dozen concerts and seven operas. The biggest single event was a performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony by 500 musicians at the city’s O2 arena.
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