Karolína Plíšková and Lucie Hradecká booked the Czech Republic’s place in the Fed Cup final in Lucerne on Sunday with a victory in a deciding doubles rubber with a 3-2 win over Switzerland. Plísková earlier beat Timea Bacsinszky 6:4 6:2 in a 74 minute game, but the advantage was lost after Barbora Strýcová lost to Viktorija Golubic 3:6 7:6(6) 6:1. The Czechs have reached the Fed Cup final for the fifth time in six years.
The ruling parties look set to clash over a proposed increase in wages in the public sector next year. The Social Democrats are proposing a 10 percent increase in wages in the health and education sectors and a five percent increase for others in the public sphere. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech TV he was willing to discuss a 3 percent increase for selected public sector workers. Trade unions in the health sector are demanding a significant increase, saying that the health sector suffers from a crippling shortage of doctors and nurses which is affecting the quality of health care afforded.
Czech troops should continue to serve in international missions in Afghanistan, Mali and the Balkans, according to the Defense Ministry’s foreign military missions plan for 2017-2018. Participation in Resolute Support in Afghanistan and in the UN mission in Mali remain top priorities, Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky told the ctk news agency. The biggest Czech presence will be in Afghanistan where the army expects to have 270 soldiers in 2017. The country will also contribute more significantly to NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force. The proposed expenditures for these foreign missions are at 2.3 billion crowns. The government is to debate the proposal at is session on Monday.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Sunday confirmed that his Social Democratic party would not for the time being pay former lawyer Zdenek Altner 337 million crowns in a contractual fine despite a legally binding court order. The party has lodged an appellate review request with the Supreme Court and says it will await the outcome of the appeal before making the payment, on the grounds that the money could end up in a foreign account and would be hard to retrieve if the court’s ruling goes in its favour. Altner has asked for the money to be transferred to a Swiss bank account and the party has until Monday to make the payment. Experts warn that the party lays itself open to action from bailiffs if the payment is not made in time.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that if the Czech Republic was forced to accept a permanent redistribution of migrants as proposed by the EC, the country may take the issue to court. In a debate on commercial TV Prima the prime minister said he hoped it would not come to that and that in cooperation with other EU members such a solution could be averted. The Czech Republic has consistently opposed mandatory migrant quotas of the grounds that the system has shown itself unworkable even on a small scale. A voluntary relocation project on the resettlement of 150 Iraqi Christians in the Czech Republic failed miserably in recent weeks after 49 of the 89 who came here either tried to move to Germany illegally or returned home. The project was cancelled.
One in four elevators in the Czech Republic are not safe, according to the results of an inspection of the country’s 135,000 lifts. According to inspector Vlastimil Graca from Bureau Veritas a full quarter of the country’s elevators need replacing or at least modernizing. Many of them lack regular maintenance and in their present state they present a serious health hazard, particularly lifts installed before 1993. 95,000 of the 135,000 lifts are for transporting people.
The Czech Republic remains strongly opposed to mandatory refugee quotas on the grounds that such a system simply does not work, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said at the Globsec security conference in Bratislava on Saturday. He said the country was prepared to cooperate in solving the migrant crisis to the best of its ability on a voluntary basis but the government could not take on the responsibility of admitting thousands of migrants in a process over which it would have no control. The Czech foreign minister moreover pointed to integration problems in countries such as France, Germany and Britain which were far better prepared to cope with the task.He also criticized efforts to link the migrant issue to the distribution of EU funds.
The Czech team tied 1:1 against Switzerland at the Fed Cup semifinals in Lucerne on Saturday. Barbora Strýcová won the first point with a surprisingly easy victory against Timea Bacsinszky 6:0 a 6:2, but Karolína Plíšková failed to capitalize on the advantage, losing to Viktorija Golubic 6:3, 4:6, 4:6.
A 27-year old German student is being investigated in Sweden on suspicion of having tried to blackmail the Czech government with threats involving an unspecified toxic substance, Swedish media reported citing state attorney Henrik Söderman. No further details were given. Swedish, Czech and German police are reportedly working on the case together with the FBI. In 2014 someone threatened to spread the Ebola virus in the Czech Republic if the government did not pay one million euros. It is not clear if the Swedish investigation pertains to this case.