Senator Tomio Okamura said he would on Thursday file a complaint with the Czech Constitutional Court over his elimination as a candidate in the upcoming presidential election. The Interior Ministry refused to register the senator as a candidate in the race on the grounds he had failed to collect the 50,000 signatures required by law to stand as the error rate found in the petition was too high. The decision was later confirmed by Supreme Administrative Court. Mr Okamura’s complaint, and those filed by some other aspirants for the race, could delay the first direct presidential election the first round of which is planned for January 11 and 12.
Warm weather has raised water levels in rivers in the south, west, and central Bohemia. On Tuesday morning, the Berounka reached the second degree of flood risk at Zbečno, some 40 kilometres west of Prague while lower levels of flood hazard have been declared at several other places. In the eastern Czech Republic, freezing rain, snow and ice-covered roads complicate traffic. The authorities have appealed to drivers to exercise extra caution.
The head of the Czech Roman Catholic church, Archbishop Dominik Duka, hosted Christmas lunch for homeless people. The lunch, organized for the 14th time by the Sant'Egidio community, was held in the Archbishop Palace and the Capuchin Monastery in Hradčany. Some 270 guests arrived to enjoy the traditional liver dumpling soup, beef in cream sauce, roast duck with cabbage and dumplings, and Christmas cookies. Every guest also received a small gift.
The police are investigating the deaths of three people whose bodies were found on Thursday in Jílové, a village near Děčín in the north of the country. The police have imposed information embargo on the case; however, the news website denik.cz reported an older man allegedly shot dead his wife and son before committing suicide. A police spokesman said more details could be released later on Tuesday.
Firefighters extinguished 16 house fires across the country on Christmas Eve which is the lowest number in 17 years, a spokeswoman for the country’s fire brigade said on Tuesday. Two people suffered minor injuries when a Christmas tree caught fire in a village outside Prague. However, a fire which broke out at a farm near Havlíčkův Brod in central Czech Republic on Tuesday morning killed 1,400 pigs.
Around one third of all newborn babies were born at hospital’s high-risk units last year, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Czech Statistical office. The causes include a growing number of children born following IVF procedures; more multiple births and a rise in the average age of mothers, the statisticians said. Over 108,000 babies were born in 2011, 8,400 less than in the previous year. The highest birth rates were registered in Prague and central Bohemia, the lowest in the Zlín and Moravian-Silesian regions. 331 babies were born outside health care facilities, either at home or on the way to the hospital.
The police in Prague shot a man in the leg after he threatened them with an air gun, the news agency ČTK reported on Tuesday quoting a police press release. The incident occurred in a bar in the Prague 8 district; a 34-year-old man was being aggressive and when the security took him out, he pulled out his air gun and shot at them before walking away. The police intercepted him and told him to drop the weapon but he pointed it at them; one of the officers then shot him in the leg, inflicting a minor injury. The man was treated by emergency service and was not taken to hospital. If convicted of disturbing the peace, he could land a 2-year prison sentence.
More than 4,000 fans attended a Christmas Eve hockey game between the KHL’s Lev Praha and Bars Kazan in the capital on Monday. The hosts lost the match 2:0 after conceding both goals within one minute in the first period. The atmosphere was described as quiet, with many Russian fans attending the game.
The LIDEM party chairwoman Karolína Peake said that the offer of former education minister Josef Dobeš to support the coalition government in the government with eight other MPs is not a viable solution to the government crisis. After being sacked from her post as defence minister on Thursday, Ms Peake has asked her ministers to resign from the government by 10 January. Mr Dobeš has announced that he and another eight MPs are willing to support the coalition in the lower house until the general elections in 2014. Many of the MPs on Mr Dobeš’s list though have been involved in corruption and other scandals, so it is not clear if such a solution would be acceptable to the government.
A number of MPs in the lower house of parliament want to overturn an ordinance issued earlier by the Education Ministry that limits eligibility for social benefits for students. According to the ordinance, only high school students are eligible for social benefits, which studying, for example, at a conservatory is no longer recognized. MPs led by the Social Democrat Vlasta Bohdalová, want to introduce an amendment that would reverse the ordinance, and return social benefits eligibility for students to a wider student population.
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