Attending a two day NATO summit in Chicago Czech Prime Minister Petr
Nečas said his country was open to negotiations about more money for
Afghanistan, but said it was too early to talk about a specific sum. He
stressed that the Czech Republic’s main priority was fulfilling its
military commitment in Afghanistan where it currently has more than 600
troops. The Czech prime minister also warned that it would be a mistake
the allies to try and “buy their way out” of Afghanistan as quickly as
possible, noting that such a move could have tragic consequences.
Washington is pressing its NATO allies to make a financial commitment to help cover the 4.1 billion dollars per year that will be needed to sustain Afghanistan’s large army and police force after the majority of international troops withdraw in 2014. Securing adequate funding for those security forces is seen as a top priority at this summit. A number of countries, including Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom, have already made long-term commitments of at least 100 million dollars per year
The Czech prime minister has rejected a Canadian request for a bilateral
agreement on the return of unsuccessful asylum applicants from the Czech
Republic. The issue was debated between the two countries’ heads of
government on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Chicago. Prime Minister
Petr Nečas said there was no need to expand on already existing
such as a readmission agreement signed in 1996. He moreover pointed out
that a bilateral agreement of this kind might not be negotiable for
political and legal reasons stemming from the Czech Republic’s EU
Czech asylum applicants in Canada have long been an issue of contention between the two countries. Canada re-introduced visas for Czech nationals three years ago, citing a high number of asylum applicants from this country. The Czech authorities claim that Canada’s liberal asylum law is to blame.
Vojtěch Filip has been re-elected chairman of the Communist Party. He beat his sole rival Stanislav Grospic in the second round of elections getting 275 votes to Grospič’s 168. The old-new chairman made a rousing speech at the two-day party conference saying the time was ripe for revolutionary changes and accusing the centre right government of impoverishing the vast majority of the population. The Communist Party now has 26 seats in the 200-member lower house but opinion polls have seen it gaining strength – one of the most recent surveys showed it second only to the Social Democrats with 14 percent of the vote.
MP David Rath, who is charged with corruption, will be able to present his case in person to Parliament’s Mandate and Immunity Committee on Tuesday. The chairman of the committee, Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday that Mr.Rath would be transported to the lower house –or some other location where the session might take place- from jail with a police escort present throughout the hearing. Although MPs have expressed consternation over the prospect, a court last week defended David Rath’s right to be heard. The committee will then report on the case to the lower house and issue a recommendation on whether or not to strip Mr. Rath of his parliamentary immunity.
Police are investigating a shooting incident in Prague’s Smichov district where a forty-four year old man was found lying in the street with gunshot wounds on Saturday. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition where he later succumbed to his injuries. Police has asked the public to provide any information that may be relevant to the case.
A 16-year-old girl and 26-year-old man were killed in the Moravian town of Usti when their car careened off the road and overturned into a lake. There were six people in the Nissan land rover all aged between 16 and 26 at the time of the accident and four are in serious condition in hospital. It is not clear who was driving the car because several passengers were thrown out of the vehicle on impact. According to eye-witnesses the group was out on a joyride and had been seen driving recklessly in the vicinity.
The Czech Republic has won the bronze at the Ice Hockey World
Championship, beating Finland 3:2. All three goals from the Czech team came
in the first period. Petr Prucha gave his team the lead early on in the
game at 12:17 and although the score was evened out just four minutes later
by Mika Pyörälä the Czechs quickly regained the lead with a goal from
Jiří Novotný at 17:22 into the period. Then with just 53.8 seconds
remaining, David Krejčí snapped the puck into a practically empty net.
The middle frame was scoreless. In the third period Jussi Jokinen spurred
his team on by wiring the puck under the crossbar to make it 3:2, but
although Finland gave it their best and outshot the Czechs 14:1 in the last
period goaltender Jakub Štepánek weathered the storm.
The bronze came less than 24 hours after a disappointing 1:3 defeat at the hands of Slovakia which dashed the team’s hopes of playing in the final.
The Social Democratic Party has officially nominated Senator Jiří Dienstbier for the post of president. The party deputy chair was the sole candidate for the presidential race after the withdrawal of economist Jan Švejnar. Senator Dienstbier received support from 107 members of the party’s executive committee, while 35 voted against his nomination. Paradoxically, some party members would prefer to support former party leader Milos Zeman who left the Social Democrats in 2007 and is now a presidential nominee for the Party of Civic Rights which he founded in 2009.
The Social Democrats have called for a cleansing of the party’s Central Bohemian leadership in connection with the corruption charges against former governor David Rath. Following a meeting of the party leadership on Saturday, chairman Bohuslav Sobotka said that there was general agreement that local leaders close to David Rath should resign and new elections should take place. The party is concerned about the negative impact the Rath corruption case could have on its chances in the autumn regional and senate elections. The former governor was arrested on Monday night with seven million crowns in cash and is suspected of being involved in a scheme abusing EU funds.
Addressing a conference of the Communist Party its leader Vojtech Filip said the time was ripe for revolutionary social changes. Filip who is running for re-election at the weekend party conference in Liberec said it was time to bring down the centre-right government and halt the anti-social reforms which were impoverishing the vast majority of the population. He said broad public support for anti-government demonstrations showed that the situation had reached a breaking point and ground-breaking changes would inevitably follow. Rousing speeches at the two day conference indicate that the Communists have not given up their long-term goal –to restore socialism in the country.