Prime Minster Petr Nečas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will meet on Tuesday to discuss the planned European fiscal agreement. The two party heads have been sharply at odds in recent weeks over the PM’s resistance toward the agreement, which is aimed at establishing tighter fiscal discipline across the EU and was signed by all member states except the Czech Republic and the UK. Mr Schwarzenberg strongly rejected the Prime Minister’s statement that the pact is not in the Czech Republic’s interests and has previously said he would not be part of any government that moved the country away from the EU mainstream.
Václav Havel’s film Leaving has been nominated for 12 Czech Lion awards. The semi-autobiographical adaptation of a play of the same name by the late president was his first and only foray into filmmaking, something he had long wanted to do. Despite nominations in every possible category, Leaving received lacklustre reviews upon release. Another directorial debut by Zdeňek Jirásek, Poupata, was nominated for ten awards. Nevinnost by Jan Hřebejk and Alois Nebel by Tomáš Luňák were each nominated in eight categories.
A writ of execution has again been filed on Prague City property due to a late payment of less than 15,000 crowns. Use of the property has not been limited, as the city paid the sum, which arose from a legal dispute, on the day the writ was issued. Prague faced a similar freezing of assets three weeks ago, in which case the use of property was restricted due to an unpaid sum of 163 thousand crowns.
Some 300 Czech patients have received low-quality hip-joint implants, the manufacturer Depuy has announced. The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary says the full implants have decreased durability and may release heavy metals such as cobalt. Some recipients have suffered medical problems requiring further treatment, the company told Czech Television. Patients with the implants will undergo blood tests and more frequent check-ups; doctors say replacement operations are not necessarily needed.
Several dozen people demonstrated outside the Syrian embassy in Prague on Sunday. The event was called by the Free Syria Initiative, which wants to draw attention to the long-running violence in the country and support the popular democratic movement. Similar gatherings have been taking place in recent days at Syrian embassies around the world. The Prague embassy’s website was also attacked by hackers on Sunday.
Nearly 1,300 people filed for personal bankruptcy in January. According to an analysis conducted by the Czech Credit Bureau for the Czech Press Agency, the figure marks a 43% increase compared to January of 2011 and is the largest number of cases since it became possible to declare personal bankruptcy in January of 2008. The highest number of bankruptcies was filed in the region of Ústí nad Labem, which accounted for 13% of cases.
Petra Kvitová advanced the Czech women’s team into the semi-final of the Fed Cup with a win over Sabine Lisicki in Stuttgart on Sunday, 6:7, 6:4, 6:1. The victory was the latest in a 27 match winning streak indoors for Kvitová, who is currently ranked world no. 2. It was also the sixth win for the Czechs out of seven matches against Germany. The Czech title-holders now have an unsurpassable 3:0 lead over Germany and will next play Ukraine or Italy in the semi-finals at home on April 21-22.
The cabinet is preparing to replace Education Minister Josef Dobeš, several Czech media outlets report. According to the daily Právo, a threat by the European Commission to halt the payment of 53 billion crowns from the Education for Competitiveness Operational Programme due to a lack of transparency in the ministry was the last straw for Mr Dobeš, who has been dogged by high profile scandals since taking office. Meanwhile the education minister is also under fire for hiring a member of the Czech Radio Council to his press department in contravention of the law. Právo cites anonymous information that deputy Public Affairs chairwoman Dagmar Navratilová is being considered for the position.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg says he supports a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, but does not believe it will change developments in the country. Speaking from Munich where he is attending an international security conference, Mr Schwarzenberg told the Czech Press Agency that it is necessary to send a signal to Syrian President Bashar Asad that the West is not indifferent to the violent suppression of anti-government protests in Syria. The Security Council is to vote on the resolution on Saturday, but Russia has warned that it will block its passage. The Czech Republic is not currently represented on the council.
Police have moved to prosecute forty people for tax evasion amounting to some 800 million crowns. According to the website of the anti-corruption department, the charges are the result of several years of investigation of people who had offered companies decreased tax liabilities and the directors of the companies who had accepted the offers, or reported the export of non-existent goods abroad. If found guilty they face between five and ten years imprisonment.
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