The Czech centre-right government faces a vote of no-confidence in the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday. The opposition Social Democrats, who tabled the motion, cited what they see as a series of ill-conceived government steps, including health care and education reforms, austerity measures and fiscal policies. Opposition leaders also said the public had lost trust in the government, as was manifested by a growing number of anti-government rallies that recently took place. However, the opposition does not have enough votes in the lower house to effectively oust the cabinet led by Prime Minister Petr Nečas of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats.
The three coalition parties have failed to reach agreement on exemptions to this year’s planned budget cuts. At a meeting of coalition leaders, Education Minister Josef Dobeš, from the Public Affairs party, refused to slash another 4.5 billion crowns from his ministry’s budget, part of the government’s austerity measures that should save up to 23.6 billion crowns. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, of the TOP 09 party, said talks in the coalition would continue, and that the government would discuss the plan at its session on Wednesday.
Czech Agriculture Minister Petr Bendl has accused supermarket chains of taking advantage of the egg shortage. Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, Mr Bendl said people should not buy large quantities of eggs, and wait for the prices to go down. Prices of eggs skyrocketed in the Czech Republic in recent months due to EU regulations on hen cages; these inhibit import of eggs from countries that have not yet adopted the new rules.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is on a three-day visit to the Philippines, the first leg of his tour of Southeast Asia. Mr Schwarzenberg met with the country’s president, Benigno Aquino, in Manila on Tuesday for talks on economic cooperation and Czech investments in the Philippines; the Czech officials also met with Foreign Minister Alberto del Rosario who expressed gratitude for Czech humanitarian assistance to the country. Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will next visit Vietnam.
The City of Prague will take over four state-run hospitals in the capital, according to a deal between Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda and Health Minister Leoš Heger that was announced on Tuesday. According to the agreement, the city will run the hospitals Na Homolce, Na Bulovce, Thomayerova and the maternity hospital in Podolí. The move will accommodate the capital’s health care needs, Mr Svoboda said. It is not clear when the takeover will take place; however, the officials said legislation must be amended accordingly before it happens.
The Czech Statistical Office expects apartment prices to continue to
decrease. The head of the office’s prices division, Jiří Mrázek, told
reporters on Tuesday that based on data from late 2011, a slight decrease
might continue over the medium term; in the long run, however, the prices
of both new and old apartments will depend on how the economy in the Czech
Republic and abroad will develop.
Last year, average prices of old apartments across the country decreased by 4.3 percent year on year while those of new flats in Prague went down by 2.9 percent.
A historic blast furnace in the city of Ostrava opened to visitors on Tuesday as the city’s new tourist attraction. The 12-storey structure, built in 1911, was used for melting iron ore until 1998. Last year it underwent complete renovation which turned an ore lift into an elevator for visitors. The furnace is part of a large industrial complex that is gradually being adapted into a multi-purpose culture centre.
A court in Tábor, in southern Bohemia, on Tuesday sentenced a woman to 15.5 years in prison for murdering her newborn baby. The woman gave birth last September in the apartment of her underage boyfriend; she told the court she thought the newborn was dead which is why she threw the baby out of the window. She later collapsed and was taken to hospital. Doctors said the baby died of injuries suffered as a result of the fall.
The Czech Republic will host the 2015 football European under-21 championships. The decision was announced at a meeting of Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, in Istanbul on Tuesday. The Czech Republic, which was competing against four six other countries to hold the even, received eight out of fourteen votes, the news website idnes.cz reported. Games will be played at four venues: two in Prague and one in Olomouc and Uherské Hradiště.
Kometa Brno defeated regular season winners Sparta Prague 4:1 on Monday,
winning the best-of-seven quarterfinals series 4:2 and advancing to the
playoffs’ last four. Kometa finished eight in the regular season and only
booked a spot in the playoffs after defeating Kladno in a play-in. But
Sparta were unable to overcome Brno’s great defence and the steadfast
goalie Jiří Trvaj, and lost the last three games in the series.
In other quarterfinal series, Zlín is tied with Plzeň and Pardubice with Vítkovice. Liberec had earlier booked a place in the semifinals after defeating České Budějovice 4:1.