President Miloš Zeman says a predecessor, Vaclav Havel, was a
'Utopian' who believed in a brave new world but lacked the
'motor' to bring it about. Speaking on Czech Radio on Sunday as
part of the Interviews from Lány series, Mr. Zeman said Mr. Havel had
failed to react to large-scale asset stripping in the privatisation era
until 1997. However, he rejected a statement by another former president,
Vaclav Klaus, who compared the leader of the Velvet Revolution to a
'reform communist' in an interview published on Saturday.
Mr. Zeman - who employed several swear words in the interview - also said that a review of a civil service bill he has petitioned for at the Constitutional Court will concern more than the fact that it formally allows for politically appointed deputy ministers. A presidential veto of the law was earlier overturned by the Chamber of Deputies. He said the president’s offices lawyers had found several other shortcomings in the legislation. The government says the bill will depoliticise the civil service.
The minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek, says the government wants to push through a long-term energy plan based on nuclear and coal power. Speaking on a TV discussion show on Sunday, Mr. Mládek said the cabinet did not want to go down the route of gas-fuelled power stations or the large scale support of renewable resources. The minister said brown coal was an important source of power that ought to be used while respecting mining limits. The government is due to discuss the energy plan before the end of the year.
The Supreme Court has refused to return a family farm to Zdena Mašínová, sister of the Mašín brothers, who dramatically escaped from Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s. The farm in Central Bohemia was confiscated by the Communists. The court said the property could only be returned to all the heirs; however, the late Ctirad Mašín and his brother Josef had been disqualified from applying for restitution on the grounds that they lived abroad. A lawyer for Zdena Mašínová said she would take the matter to the Constitutional Court.
There has been a large fall in the number of young Czechs engaging in organised sports since the fall of the communism in 1989, the Czech News Agency reported. The number registered in youth categories with the Czech Union of Sport – an umbrella group bringing together three-quarters of the country’s sports clubs – has fallen by over a third in the last 25 years and stood at just under 340,000 at the end of last year.
Viktoria Plzeň have extended their lead at the top of Czech soccer’s top flight after a 2:0 home win over second-placed Sparta Prague on Saturday night. Plzeň found the net twice in the first 23 minutes in a game in which the visitors did not have one shot on target. The West Bohemian club are now four points clear of Sparta, who are defending champions.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic should remain considerably higher than average for the time of year in the next two weeks. The long-term average for the period from November 3 to 30 is 2.8 degrees Celsius but in the next fortnight we can expect day-time highs of up to 10 degrees Celsius. According to a long-term forecast from the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute, the whole month of November should be relatively dry.
People around the Czech Republic have been visiting graveyards to remember late family members and friends on Dušičky or All Souls’ Day. The Roman Catholic holiday involves visiting and tending graves and lighting candles, though many people do so ahead of November 2. The head of the country’s Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, will serve a mass in commemoration of the departed at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at Prague’s Vyšehrad on Sunday evening.
Unions at the agency that oversees communist era secret police files and other documents have written to the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, in connection with the planned layoff of around a fifth of its staff, Novinky.cz reported on Saturday. Representatives of three of the five unions at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes asked the minister to halt steps taken by its management, saying they were financially unsound. The redundancies are due to come into effect in April.
The Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych has qualified for the prestigious season-ending ATP World Tour Finals for the fifth time in a row. Berdych, who is 29, assured himself of one of the eight places available after overcoming Kevin Anderson of South Africa to reach the last four of an indoor tournament in Paris. He lost in the semi-finals to Canada’s Milos Raonic, 3-6 6-3 5-7. The World Tour Finals get underway in London on November 9.
Police evacuated around 400 people from their homes in the village of Dolní Lutyně in Silesia on Saturday afternoon after a digger driver discovered an unexploded bomb that was dropped by a plane during WWII. The bomb, which weighed 100kg, was buried two metres under the earth. The local major said it had likely been there since an Allied air raid on the nearby Bohumín in September 1944.