The Communists could support the interim government of Jiří Rusnok in order to prevent a right-wing cabinet, the head of their party’s parliamentary group, Pavel Kováčik, has indicated. He was speaking ahead of talks on Tuesday with President Miloš Zeman, who is trying to win support for the Rusnok government, which he appointed. Mr. Kováčik said everything possible should be done to stop the previous right-wing coalition from returning to power. The Communists are due to decide on their position at the start of August, shortly before a vote of confidence in the cabinet. At present it is unclear whether it can win such a vote.
Sensitive data relating to clients of the bank Komerční banka was accidentally made accessible to other clients, Czech Radio reported on Tuesday. A listener contacted the station to say that while using regular internet banking services he had been able to access names, addresses and other information on some of the bank’s other customers, including the former minister of finance Miroslav Kalousek. Visitors could also have made changes to the data of other customers. The bank said it was taking the matter, which affected 47,000 customers, very seriously and blocked access to its database. It could face a stiff fine from the country’s data protection watchdog.
The population of the Czech Republic could fall from today’s figure of 10.5 million to around 7.5 million by the end of the century, according to a projection carried out by the Czech Statistics Office that was released on Tuesday. The report suggests that the over 65s will account for a third of the population in 2101, while life expectancy will be 10 years longer than it is today. An influx of foreigners will not make up for the falloff in the number of Czechs, the authors of the projection said.
A court in Brno has handed down a 16-year jail term for the brutal murder of a homeless man in the town of Bělá pod Bezdězem in late 2011, according to information posted on its website. Judges found Petr Borč guilty of brutally beating, stabbing and cutting off the ear of his victim over a period of two hours following an argument. His accomplice, Jan Švejda, had received a 13-year term for his role in the murder. Mr. Borč was almost 50 at the time of the killing, which took place in a flat where the homeless man occasionally stayed; Mr. Švejda was 20.
The police say they have arrested the members of an international gang that illegally exported the horns of strictly protected rhinoceroses from South Africa. Customs officers uncovered 24 rhino horns worth an estimated CZK 100 million in what was the biggest haul of its kind since the establishment of the Czech Republic. Sixteen people have been charged in connection with the matter.
Questions have been raised as to whether the granddaughter of Zdeněk Miler, the creator of the popular Little Mole cartoon character, actually owns the copyright on the figure, Lidovky.cz reported. The news site said that the administrator of the Miler estate, Milena Fischerová, believes Karolína Milerová’s contract to use the rights to the figure is invalid and is having it examined by legal experts. The cartoonist’s descendant currently runs the Little Mole company on the basis of a licence that she says he signed with her prior to his death in 2011. Ms. Milerová, who is in her mid 20s, has refused to make the document public.
Representatives of leading Czech circuses say that they are afraid the country’s circus arts could die out within a few years. Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, circus heads called for traditional Czech circuses to be added to the country’s non-material cultural heritage list. They also said proposed new regulations regarding the treatment of animals in Czech circuses would be so strict as to mean they had nothing to offer audiences. There are around 30 circuses in the Czech Republic.
The English rock band Depeche Mode are due to perform at Prague’s Eden soccer stadium on Tuesday evening. The group, who are affectionately known as “Depešáci” by their Czech fans, first played in the city in 1988 and have performed here on many occasions since, the last time being in 2011. Depeche Mode are expected to perform material from their most recent LP, Heaven, as well as many songs from a career spanning over three decades.
The veteran Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr is set to sign a new one-year contract with the New Jersey Devils, ESPN reported. The Devils would be the seventh different NHL club for the right wing, who is 41 and is regarded as perhaps the greatest Czech player of all time. Jágr has notched up 681 goals in the league since joining his first NHL club, Pittsburgh Penguins, in 1990–1991.
President Miloš Zeman is meeting with representatives of all parliamentary parties in a bid to secure support for the Rusnok caretaker government. Following brief consultations with Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok on Monday morning, the president is holding talks with representatives of the Civic Democratic Party, TOP 09 and the opposition Social Democrats. While the centre-right Civic Democrats and TOP 09 have ruled out support for the caretaker administration the opposition Social Democrats have indicated that under certain circumstances they might be prepared to tolerate the Rusnok government. The caretaker cabinet would need a simple majority to win a vote of confidence and the centre-right parties, who claim to have a 101 votes in the lower house, are determined to prevent that happening.
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