The Czech government on Friday approved an agreement with Russia on debt settlement, PM Jiří Rusnok said. The Russian Federation owes the Czech Republic some 8 million dollars, the remaining part of a debt that originated in the Soviet era. Under the deal, the Czech government will receive around 80 percent of the debt, most of which was controversially settled in the early 2000s; the government of then PM Miloš Zeman sold claims worth around 2.5 billion US dollars to a private firm for 580 million dollars.
One of the hosts of a high-profile Czech TV currents affairs show has been dismissed under political pressure, the public broadcaster’s trade unions said on Friday. Czech TV announced earlier this week that Daniela Drtinová would no longer host the nightly Události komentáře show, and that she had been offered her own programme. But on Friday, the trade unions said the decision was made to accommodate complaints from politicians, who objected to her tough interviewing style. The claim has been rejected by Czech TV CEO, Petr Dvořák, who said he considered the move a career boost for Ms Drtinová.
The Czech central bank on Friday released an improved estimate of the state budget deficit. It now predicts the deficit will reach 2.3 percent of the country’s GDP, down from its previous estimate of 2.4 percent. The Finance Ministry expects this year’s deficit to reach 2.8 percent. Next year, the Czech National Bank forecasts a further decrease of the deficit to 2.0 percent of GDP.
The bodies of a 36-year-old Czech woman and her eight-year-old daughter who died under mysterious circumstances in Hurghada, Egypt, have been flown back to the Czech Republic. Czech investigators have ordered a second autopsy following one which was conducted in Egypt. The police expect that the result should be known within several days. The deceased woman’s husband who himself ended up in hospital remains in Egypt as an investigation into the deaths continues. There has been speculation that the two were poisoned.
The director of Prague’s National Theatre, Jan Burian, has agreed to stay in his post after Culture Minister Jiří Balvín accepted his conditions. Those include no further changes in the management of the institution until after the next elections. Mr Burian was reinstated to the position on the prime minister’s request last week, a day after he was fired by the culture minister. His dismissal caused an outcry among the theatre’s actors, management and politicians.
Czech film director, screenwriter and actor Jiří Krejčík died at the age of 95 in Prague on Thursday, the news agency ČTK has reported. Mr Krejčík made over 20 films in a career that began in 1947. His best known films include the 1960 WWII drama Higher Principle, the biographical film about the singer Ema Destinová entitled The Divine Ema, as well as a number of comedies. Jiří Krejčík received the Czech Lion film award for lifetime achievement, as well as a similar prize from the Karlovy Vary film festival. He was also awarded the Czech Republic’s Medal of Merit in recognition of his work.
Marian Piecha has been named the new head of CzechInvest, a state agency in charge of attracting foreign investment. Mr Piecha previously served as the head of investment and innovation at the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The agency’s previous director was dismissed last August over problems with a public procurement project.
Former Czech international Tomáš Ujfaluši has signed a one-year contract Sparta Prague. The defender, who made 78 appearances for the national squad, had played abroad for more than 12 years for clubs including Italy's Fiorentina and Atletico Madrid in Spain. His last club was Turkey's Galatasaray, where he hadn't played since last August due to a knee injury.
Czech title-holders Viktoria Plzeň have been drawn against the Slovenian side Maribor for the final round of qualification for the Champions League. The first leg is scheduled for August 20 or 21 in Plzeň, the second a week later in Slovenia. In the final round of qualifiers for the second-tier Europa League, Liberec has been drawn against Italy’s Udinese while Jablonec will play Real Betis.
The country’s MPs will vote to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies next
week; the Social Democrats, the Communists, and TOP 09 are expected to
agree on an extraordinary session. The vote, which could take place early
as Tuesday should open the path to early elections within 60 days. The
option of early elections came to the forefront on Wednesday after it
became apparent that the Rusnok cabinet would continue in power even if it
failed in gain a majority in a confidence vote. President Zeman had said
earlier in a speech to lawmakers that he would leave the cabinet in place
until a criminal investigation into a scandal which brought down the
previous government wrapped up.
The collapse of 101-majority on the centre-right also raised the chance of early elections; previously the centre-right coalition led by Miroslava Němcová maintained it could form a government if given the opportunity. Two members within her party, however, abstained in the confidence vote. On Wednesday evening, the Rusnok cabinet received 93 votes in favour and 100 against.