The Anti-trust Office has issued a decision preventing the Health Ministry from signing an agreement with the Slovak firm Air Transport Europe on an emergency medical helicopter service in the Usti nad Labem region. The Anti-trust Office did not specify the reasons for it decision. Health Ministry spokesman Ladislav Šticha said that if the ministry was unable to sign the agreement in time, the service would temporarily be provided from Prague as of January 1st.
Jaroslava Jermanová of the ANO party has been elected governor of the Central Bohemia region. Ms. Jermanová, who has said she would now give up her deputy post in Parliament, was elected by 42 council votes, twenty councillors abstained and two were against. The ANO party won the elections in the region, forming a coalition government with the Mayors and Independents, the Civic Democrats and TOP 09.
Music lovers will get a rare opportunity to saviour a Space and Sound concert involving three orchestras at Forum Karlín in Prague on Saturday. The audience will hear Karlheinz Stockhausen’s unique Gruppen for three orchestras, the electronic piece Gesang der Jünglinge and John Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis. The three orchestras are the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, the Ostrava band and the Stonava Miners’ Brass Band. At Space and Sound concerts the audience sits right in the middle of the orchestra. It is the first time that such a concert will be performed in Prague.
The prime minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka has dismissed the idea that he should relinquish one of his posts in the wake of the party’s defeat in October’s regional and Senate elections. Countering an attack from South Bohemian governor Jiri Zimola, Mr. Sobotka said that he had rejected the idea of separating the posts in the past since such a step would merely create potential conflict and undermine party unity. He said there would be sufficient space at the party’s national conference in March to talk about how the party should boost flagging voter support. Mr. Sobotka also slammed critics in the party for attacking the party leadership via the press, saying this only harmed the party’s interests and played into the hands of its main rival ANO.
Politicians have started backtracking on a proposal that would make defamation of the president a criminal offense punishable by up to a year in jail, Czech Radio reported on Friday. Several deputies from ANO, the Social Democrats and the Dawn movement, who originally backed the proposal have announced they are withdrawing support for the bill. Deputy Marek Černoch from the Dawn movement said he had reconsidered mainly due to the argument that a prison sentence for defamation was excessive. Others are reported to be wavering and say they will await the outcome of the bill’s first reading in Parliament. The proposal, which was originally supported by 60 MPs, came under fire from all sides. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Social Democrats said it could be abused in political battles while ANO leader Andrej Babiš said it violates the right to freedom of speech.
Citizens from other EU member states with temporary residence in the Czech Republic may get the right to take part in local and European elections, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Friday. The Interior Ministry has put forward a draft amendment to the election law, in reaction to a court verdict that said EU foreigners should have the right to vote in local and European elections. The Brno Regional Court upheld the complaint of a Slovak man, who argued that he would have the right to vote in these elections in other EU countries. The bill concerns some 118,000 EU foreigners with temporary residence in the Czech Republic.
Three times Olympics winner Martina Sábliková triumphed at the women's 3,000 meters race at the Speed Skating World Cup in Nagano, Japan. She was timed at 4min 03.57sec as she defeated Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands, who took the silver. Sáblíková also secured the 3,000m title last week during the opening stage of the World Cup in Harbin in China. She is striving for her 11th World Cup victory.
The Turkish ambassador to Prague Ahmet Necati Bigalı has said the
situation of the two Czechs arrested in Turkey and charged with terrorist
activities in the Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit YPG is serious. In an
interview for Czech Radio the ambassador said that if the two suspects are
members of YPG and have taken part in terrorist activities on Turkish soil
they will almost certainly be tried in the country. The ambassador said it
could take longer for the trial to start since the Turkish security forces
had arrested a large number of terrorists in recent days.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the two nationals in detention are Marketa Vselichova and Miroslav Farkas. Farkas and Vselichova have spoken openly about assisting the Kurdish militia in its fight against IS militants in the past giving the Czech media several interviews on the subject. The Czech Foreign Ministry is trying to secure their extradition to the Czech Republic.
Civic associations perceive the anniversary as an opportunity to take stock of the country’s post-1989 development and there has been criticism of how far Czechs have strayed from the ideals of the Velvet Revolution and the country’s first post-communist president Václav Havel. Concerts, gatherings and marches took place around the country within so-called Festival of Freedom celebrations; among others, an allegorical procession poking fun at populist leaders. At 7.30 pm thousands of alarm clocks will go off around the country as a wake-up call to the nation that values linked to the Velvet Revolution are being questioned and sacrificed.