TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg said in an interview for the APA agency that he has no plans to resign as party leader following the party’s debacle in the recent local and Senate elections. Mr. Schwarzenberg said the party was paying the price for the austerity measures introduced while it was in government between 2010 and 2013. He likewise put TOP 09s poor showing in the elections down to a lackluster campaign.
Justice Minister Helena Válkova has said the case in which a deranged woman attacked students in a secondary school in Ždár was the fault of the court which approved her release from a mental institution. Minister Válková said that the present legislation provided adequate means of reducing the risk of such incidents but this required a responsible attitude on the part of courts which should request a medical opinion from more than one expert before reaching a decision. The minister requested an inspection into how courts proceed in the case of psychiatric patients and said the results showed a lack of unified procedure.
Supreme State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová is the most influential woman in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech edition of Forbes magazine. Ms Bradáčová is followed by the newly-appointed EU commissioner Věra Jourová and the chairwoman of the Energy Regulatory Office Alena Vitásková. The list includes female managers, company owners, as well as womwn involved in public administration, the non-profit sector, media, culture and sport.
A new biography of Václav Havel, written by his former press secretary, advisor and long-time friend Michael Žantovský, will be officially released on Thursday in Britain and the U.S. The biography, entitled Havel: A Life, maps Mr Havel’s journey from dissident playwright to president. Mr Žantovský, who is currently the Czech ambassador to London, wrote the book in English. Its Czech version is already selling in bookstores around the country.
The local town hall in Prague 1 has been fined 150,000 crowns over the Winged Lion Memorial, a tribute to Czech and Slovak airmen who served in the British RAF during WWII. Prague City Hall, which issued the fine, said the memorial was unveiled at Prague’s Klárov park without a permit from the city’s preservationists. A spokeswoman for Prague City Hall said they had no intention to disgrace the memory of the servicemen but that the law must be observed.
The Czech Republic would like the planned EU-US trade deal, known as TTIP, to replace the current bilateral investment protection treaty between the US and the Czech Republic, the news agency ČTK reported, quoting Finance Ministry documents. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš raised the issue during Wednesday talks with the head of the EU’s Directorate General for Trade, Ignacio Garcia, the union’s chief negotiator of the trade deal. The Czech government believes the TTIP, which could be finalized by the end of the year, will increase the country’s GDP by up to 2.6 percent.
The US firm Uber launched its uberPop car-sharing service in Prague on Wednesday. The service enables users to get rides from drivers who are not licenced as professional taxi drivers. However, a spokesman for the Transportation Ministry said the uberPop service is most likely in conflict which Czech law. Uber launched its flagship taxi service in Prague in August.
Czech MPs on Wednesday voted to condemn a trip by deputy chair of the lower house Vojtěch Filip to Moscow. Mr Filip, who is the head of the Czech Communist Party, arrived in the Russian capital on Wednesday; he was invited to visit the lower house of the Russian Parliament by its vice chairman Sergei Zheleznyak who is one of the Russian officials targeted by EU and US sanctions. The motion condemning Mr Filip’s visit was backed by most MPs with the exception of Communist and some Social Democrat deputies. In a reaction, Mr Filip said he was not representing the lower house on his trip.
A new venue for contemporary art Jatka 78 opens in the Czech capital with a show entitled A Mass for Souls on Wednesday night. The venue, whose name translates as Slaughterhouse 78, is located in a former slaughterhouse complex in the Prague district of Holešovice. It will serve as the home venue for the La Putyka circus which initiated the project, and will offer performances by independent and experimental art companies, the organizers said.
A new poll of voters' preferences suggests growing support for the coalition ANO paty. The survey, conducted by the Median agency in October, suggests that 24.5 percent of voters would back ANO, up from 22 percent recorded in a previous poll in August. The senior coalition Social Democrats would come second with 21 percent, followed by the Communists with 15 percent and the opposition TOP 09 and Civic Democrat parties with 10.5 and 8 percent, respectively. The Christian Democrats and the Dawn party would also pass the five-percent threshold to enter the lower house.