The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg said on Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, that Israel, had the right to self defence. Violence has continued to escalate between the Palestinian territory of Gaza and Israel after an Israeli airstrike killed the military leader of the Palestinian group Hamas. Mr Schwarzenberg expressed the hope that both sides in the conflict would agree to a ceasefire but said that if rockets from Gaza against Israel continued that the country had the right to send in ground troops. More than 80 people have died on the Palestinian side over the last six days; three Israelis have been killed.
In related news, on Sunday, the Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, spoke over the phone with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Israel had the right to self defence. The Czech president, Václav Klaus, had been due to begin a four-day state visit to Israel on Sunday but was forced to cancel the trip in view of the situation. A spokesman could not confirm last week whether an alternative visit would be planned.
The deficit in the state budget should not exceed 100 million crowns,
according to a new proposal submitted by the country’s finance minister
Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09. The budget includes measures aimed at
the economy, including investment in research, transport and education,
which the minister stressed were areas that would not see austerity cuts.
Overall, however, the state is planning on cutting expenses in the form of salaries and bonuses next year by 324 million crowns to 128.2. Those figures remain unchanged from the original draft budget that the Chamber of Deputies returned to the government. The average gross monthly pay in the civil service will grow by just 24 crowns to 23,857 crowns next year when the number of civil servants is to decrease by 272, ČTK reported. The state will pay a total of 424,818 employees from the budget in 2013. The government will discuss the budget at its meeting on Wednesday.
Oncologist and haematologist Pavel Klener, cardiologist Jan Pirk, and epidemiologist Ervín Adam have received Česká hlava awards recognising excellence in science and technology. Mr Klener received the top prize for a pioneering method of chemotherapy to combat malignant tumours. The award for Innovation went to Jan Pirk for groundbreaking use of mechanical pumps capable of replacing the human heart. The pumps, in cases where there is no other option, buy patients extra time for a heart transplant. In an operation earlier this year, the system extended the life of a Czech fire fighter by six months. Epidemiologist Ervín Adam, who is 90 years old, received the Patria prize for his work in combating polio.
Poisoned alcohol has claimed a 36th victim in the Czech Republic, a 64-year-old man who was found dead in his home in the region of Moravia-Silesia. Twenty-two people in the region have died since bootleg alcohol containing lethal amounts of methyl was released onto the Czech market in mid-September. At the weekend, a couple from Havířov who consumed laced alcohol fell ill and were hospitalised: one of them, a 48-year-old woman, was in critical condition, but doctors managed to stabilise the patient. The authorities have repeatedly warned individuals not to consume hard liquor of unknown origin ie. bottles lacking new excise stamps.
Dozens of schools in the Czech Republic improperly drew EU funds, the Education Ministry has found. Cases uncovered will be passed on to revenue authorities; some schools could required to return millions of crowns. Education Ministry PR representative Hynek Jordán revealed that 62 cases out of 222 checks so far had shown shortcomings: in all 3,800 schools outside the capital applied for 4.2 billion crowns in funding. Mistakes made in drawing funds and applying them in related projects so far amounted to 13.7 million crowns. Forty-three schools are still being audited.
Police in Šumperk have revealed that a car chase in the area ended in a fatal crash on Saturday. Officers were in pursuit of a 27-year-old suspect caught trying to break into recreational cottages. Jumping into his vehicle, the suspect tried to run police over before making his escape. He was pursued for 36 kilometres, while the police fired shots to try and get him to stop. The chase ended when the suspect lost control of the wheel and crashed into a tree. He died on the spot. The case is still under investigation, a police spokesman said; the General Inspection of the Security Forces is also looking into the incident.
Czech singer Petra Janů will celebrate her 60th birthday with a sold-out concert at Prague’s Lucerna concert hall on Monday. Guests Ota Petřina, Eva Pilarová and Marta Kubišová have been invited. Petra Janů has already received best wishes from pop legend Karel Gott who made a special note of her birthday in his Sunday programme Zpátky si dám tenhle film on Czech Radio 2 – Praha. Monday’s concert will also see the launch of a new three-disc release entitled Má pouť (My Pilgrimage).
Tennis player Radek Štepánek has moved up six spots in the ATP ladder after leading the Czech squad to triumph in this year’s Davis Cup. The player finishes his season in 31st spot. On Sunday, Stepanek won the final and deciding match against Spain’s Nicolas Almagro to clinch the Czechs’ first Davis Cup win in 32 years (the first time for the Czech Republic as an independent state). One Czech daily called Sunday’s success the tennis “equivalent of Nagano” – the Winter Olympics in 1998 where the Czech hockey team won gold.
The Czech men’s tennis team have achieved an historic sporting success after beating Spain 3:2 on matches in a dramatic Davis Cup final in front of 13,000 fans at a sold-out O2 Arena in Prague. The Czechs secured victory when veteran Radek Štěpánek beat Nicolas Almagro 6-4 7-6 3-6 6-3 in the final singles rubber of the weekend. The Czech Republic had only won the competition once in the past, while still part of Czechoslovakia in 1980. The Czech women’s team won the Fed Cup in the same venue two weeks ago and it is the first time that the country has held the two prestigious team titles simultaneously.