Prime minister and Civic Democrat leader Petr Nečas has said his party’s main aim in the autumn regional elections would be to prevent the formation of left-wing coalitions. Speaking at his party’s ideological conference in Ostrava over the weekend, Mr. Nečas said the present coalitions between the Social Democrats and the Communists were having a devastating effect on financing. He said public debt had risen three-fold in the regions with left wing-leaderships and that money was being spent on salaries rather than being invested.
The opposition Social Democrats who are likewise holding a policy conference this weekend said the autumn Senate and regional elections would inevitably be a national referendum on the government’s reform programme. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka has said the prosecution of former party member David Rath –which has already hit the party’s support rating - must not be allowed to overshadow the government’s mistakes and the country’s growing economic problems. He slammed the ruling coalition for approving what he called chaotic spending-cuts instead of effecting measures to jump-start the economy. He moreover questioned the government’s fiscal targets saying that the first 5 months of the year had already created 75 percent of the projected spending deficit for the whole year.
Operation on the main rail route between Prague and Brno was fully restored early on Saturday after parts of a wall collapsed onto the tracks on Friday. Two trains ploughed into the debris but fortunately the accident resulted only in material damage. Emergency crews worked 13 hours straight clearing the tracks. An investigation is now underway into what caused the wall to fall. Police are not ruling out charges of negligence.
Lany chateau, the summer residence of Czech presidents, opened to the public on Saturday with a guided tour by none-other than the first lady herself, Mrs. Livia Klaus. Hundreds of people queued up since 6 am for the special treat and Mrs. Klausova smiled and joked as she took groups of people round the chateau and well-tended park gardens. Lany chateau is rarely open to the public. During President Masaryk’s time in office it only opened its gates to the public twice. The last time it did so –during President Klaus first term in office - it attracted 11 thousand visitors.
Food inspectors have ordered 2.8 tons of meat loafs produced by the Liberec firm RAVY CZ taken off the shelves after a random check detected the presence of listeria, a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and fever. The products were distributed to several big chain stores: Kaufland, Norma, Tesco and Globus. People have been asked to return the goods to the store where they bought it and they will get their money back.
Two Czech mountaineers are reported to have been killed in an attempt to climb Austria’s highest mountain Grossglockner. According to the APA news agency the men were found at the bottom of a 450 metre deep crevasse. Both were experienced mountain climbers and it is not clear what caused the accident.
Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham will reportedly miss Sunday's British Grand Prix at Silverstone due to an injury. Abrham broke two fingers on his left hand in a testing accident in Spain last week. The official motograndprix.com website reported that the Cardion Ducati rider should be fit for the Dutch Grand Prix at Assen on June 30.
The Czech Press Agency has reported that anticorruption police are investigating nine others in connection with the case of MP Vlasta Parkanová. According to the daily Mladá fronta Dnes, detectives began investigating the former head of the office for supervising Defence Ministry acquisitions, Roman Hošta and ten others. On Wednesday police asked Parliament to give up Ms Parkanová, a former defence minister, for prosecution over suspicions of improper army purchases. The opposition Social Democrats have called on her to resign as deputy chairwoman of the lower house. Parkanová herself insists there was nothing dubious about the deals, which were approved by the government at the time as a whole.
Meanwhile, deputy Social Democrat chairman Lubomír Zaorálek also accused
Prime Minister Nečas of intimidating the police and state attorneys
through his comments on the case of Vlasta Parkanova. Mr Nečas said
Thursday that a gang of police colonels could not decide on who would or
would not be in the government by asking to release people for prosecution.
The government party’s vetoed a motion by Mr Zaorálek to bring the
comment to the house floor. Alluding to imprisoned opposition MP David
Rath, he said he did not want to believe that giving up an opposition
member means fighting corruption, while being asked for a government
politician means a gang of colonels must be behind it.
Lidové noviny: Omnipol made five billion on CASA deal
The daily Lidové noviny believes the subject that gained from the overpriced purchase of the CASA transport planes was the armaments company Omnipol. The paper writes that Omnipol, whose founder Richard Háva is reportedly a personal friend of Finance Minister Kalousek, brought in more than five billion crowns in 2010. The year prior to the company’s intermediation of the deal, it had netted less than one billion. According to Lidové noviny, the Czech Republic paid twice what Portugal paid for the same planes – some 875 million crowns per plane compared to 418 paid by Portugal.
Parliament has nominated 27 people for state distinctions. Former hockey player Jaroslav Holík and guitarist Lubomír Brabec were put forward for Medals of Merit, as were former head of religious broadcasts at Radio Free Europe Karel Jaroslav Fořt and art historian Bohumil Samek. Both houses recommended a special posthumous award for former Supreme Court head and ombudsman Otakar Motejl, whio died two years ago. The final decision on such awards rests with President Václav Klaus. Last year, only six of Parliament’s 31 nominations were awarded.