Leaders of the Czech coalition parties are to discuss later on Sunday an addition to the coalition agreement, following a drawn-out crisis within the ruling coalition. Leaders of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs have already agreed on most of the programme issues; on Sunday, they will be primarily dealing with personnel changes to the government. The junior coalition Public Affairs party demands to have four ministerial posts in the centre-right government; they lost two of them in the wake of a corruption scandal that rocked the party earlier this year.
Swiss prosecutors will next week continue investigations of the late 1990s privatization of the Mostecká uhelná coal firm, Czech Television reported on Sunday. Starting Monday, the prosecutors will interrogate several former members of the government that oversaw the dubious deal, including then justice minister, and the current head of the country’s Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychteský. The investigation centres on suspicions that the privatization could have been funded by funds which should have been used for the re-cultivation of former mining sites but ended up on foreign bank accounts.
The Czech-German Fund for the Future will support another 167 projects
aimed at improving relations between the two countries, the head of the
fund’s board of directors, Albert Schläger, told the Czech news agency
ČTK on Sunday. The fund has earmarked some 21.5 million Czech crowns for
the projects that include the popular Prague Theatre Festival of the
Language, an annual event that brings German-speaking theatre troupes to
the Czech capital.
The Czech-German Fund for the Future was established in 1997 on the basis of a joint Czech-German declaration; the German side admitted its responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi regime while the Czech Republic expressed regrets for the post-war expulsion of the Czechoslovakia’s German-speaking community.
Prague’s Apostrof theatre festival, which started in the Czech capital on Sunday, brings together ensembles from several European countries as well as from India, Thailand and the United States. The festival began with the world premiere of the play Kafka and I by the Bangkok University Theatre Company. Other groups that take part in the festival include India’s Natak Company, Chance Company from Poland, and others.
Ivan Hašek on Sunday stepped down as the head of the Czech football
association, halfway through his four-year term. In a surprising move, Mr
Hašek told the delegates of the FA’s general assembly in Prague he
considered his mission to be completed, and that he would return as head
coach to the Al Ahli football club in the United Arab Emirates. Mr Hašek
was elected the head of the Czech FA two years ago amidst hopes he would
clear the football-governing body of corruption allegations. The
association will elect its new head within three months' time.
At its general assembly in Prague on Sunday, the association also formally changed its name. Its new official name is the Football Association of the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic’s under-17 national football team lost 2:1 to Uzbekistan at the world championships in Mexico on Saturday, and was knocked out of the tournament. The Czech went ahead in the 23rd minute when Lukáš Juliš converted a penalty. But the Uzbeks equalized one minute before halftime and in the 73rd minute, the Czech defence allowed the Uzbeks an easy winning goal. The Czechs, who only scored two goals at the tournament, finished last in their group, after beating New Zealand and losing to the United States and Uzbekistan.
The Czech men’s national inline hockey team beat the United States 3:2 in the finals of the IIHF World Championships in Pardubice, eastern Bohemia, on Saturday and won the world title. The Czechs went ahead in the 8th minute but the US team, who was defending the title from the previous year, managed to equalize eight minutes later. But the hosts then scored twice and only conceded one more goal. The Czech team won gold, after two silvers and one bronze from previous tournaments, without losing a single game. Goalkeeper Roman Handl and defenseman Tomáš Demel were also named the best players of the tournament, along with forward Jose Cadiz from the US.
Additional budget cuts of up to 15 billion crowns, or more than 870 million US dollars, might be needed to balance the effects of the European debt crisis on the Czech economy, Finance Minister told the daily Lidové noviny on Saturday. Mr Kalousek said that given the fragile post-crisis growth, there was a considerable risk of the economy falling back into recession. The Czech government this year implemented austerity measures amounting to 35 billion crowns to reach a budget deficit of around 105 billion crowns, or 3.5 percent of the country’s GDP.
A Czech tourist bus on its way to Croatia crashed on the A9 motorway in south-east Austria in the early hours of Saturday after it went off the road and hit the side bank. Four passengers were seriously injured and were taken to a nearby hospital; another 14 people suffered light injuries. Other passengers were picked up by another bus and continued their trip. The authorities believe the accident was caused by the driver of the bus who probably fell asleep behind the wheel.
Several hundred neo-Nazis marched on Saturday through the town of Přerov, in the east of the country. The march, organized by the extremist Workers’ Party of Social Justice, passed through the town’s Romany neighbourhood. Hundreds of police officers were deployed to prevent clashed between the neo-Nazis and members of the town Romany community; the police confiscated a handgun and several batons and knives from the extremists. No incidents have so far been reported.
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