A new Czech biopic of politician Jan Masaryk will be shown in the main programme in the Berlin International Film Festival next month. Masaryk, helmed by director Julius Ševčík and starring well-known actor Karel Rodin, focuses on one period of the life of the politician, who was the son of Czechoslovakia’s founder, served as the country’s minister of foreign affairs and is believed by many to have been killed by the Communists in 1948.
British journalist Clare Hollingworth, who helped many hundreds of people to escape from the occupied Czech lands during World War II, has died at the age of 105. In Prague in September 1938 when the Munich Agreement was signed, Hollingworth saw the influx of refugees from the occupied Sudetenland and later helped Czechoslovak Jews and other to escape to Poland once the Nazis took over the rest of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939. She headed the UK committee for refugees from Czechoslovakia in Poland’s Katowice, a common destination for those fleeing the Germans, finding documents and money to help many reach a third country.
MP Pavlína Nytrová quit the Social Democrats in mid-December, she announced on Tuesday. The politician said she no longer wanted to be a member of a party that she categorised as being corrupt at all levels. Ms. Nytrová is known for suggesting during a lower house debate on registered partnerships that homosexuals would attempt to legalise sex with children. She will remain in the Chamber of Deputies until the end of its current term later this year.
The Prague Municipal Court has given Jana Nečasová, a former chief prime ministerial aide, an 18-month suspended sentence for abusing classified information from the BIS domestic intelligence agency. The court handed a nine-month suspended sentence to influential businessman Ivo Rittig, who was accused of receiving information that the BIS was looking into his activities from Mrs. Nečasová. Mr. Rittig’s lawyer David Michal received the same punishment as him while another defendant was found innocent. Jana Nečasová’s arrest in 2013 helped bring down the government of the PM Petr Nečas, whom she later married.
Miloš Zeman may announce his decision to run for a second term as Czech president in March, Parliamentilisty.cz has reported. Mr. Zeman’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, told the website that his office was at present planning a major news conference for the president on March 10, two days after the fourth anniversary of his inauguration in 2013. Mr. Zeman has been hinting for some time that he would make an announcement and people around him have been suggesting in recent months that he would stand again, the news site Lidovky.cz said. The next two-round presidential elections are set to take place in January next year.
Czechs borrowed a record amount in mortgage loans last year, iHned.cz reported on Tuesday. The news website said market leader Hypoteční banka had estimated the total volume of such borrowings for 2016 at CZK 225 billion – an increase of 22 percent on the previous year. Hypoteční banka attributed the growth to the healthy economy, long-term low interest rates and new legislation concerning consumer borrowing that took effect at the start of December.
Consumer prices in the Czech Republic grew by 0.7 percent in 2016, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Czech Statistics Office. That was the highest rate of inflation in three years. In 2015 consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent. In December they climbed by 2 percent year-on-year from the 1.5 percent seen in November; analysts say this confirms that the ending of the central bank’s weak crown policy will not prevent inflation this year.
Czech government coalition leaders failed to agree on how to use the 2016 state budget surplus at their meeting on Monday, and Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babis proposed that the decision be adjourned until it is clear how the 2017 budget develops. "Let's the budget runs and see how it will look in late March," Mr Babiš told journalists. The ANO leader rejected the Social Democrats' proposal that the surplus be transferred to the pension system account. As an alternative proposal, the leading party in government suggested that the surplus be used to reduce the 2017 budget deficit. The deadline for the cabinet to make the decision and submit it to the Chamber of Deputies is April 30. The 2016 budget was approved with a 70 billion crown deficit, but saw a surplus of 61.8 billion crowns. The 2017 budget projects a deficit of 60 billion crowns.
Czech diplomat Štefan Füle, 54, former commissioner for EU enlargement, may run for the post of secretary-general of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a diplomatic source has confirmed for the Czech News Agency. According to the source, the government will deal with Füle's nomination in January. The Foreign Ministry, however, declined to comment on the information. Political analyst Vít Dostal, from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), described the post of OSCE head as "prestigious", calling the OSCE “now practically the sole international organisation where a dialogue between the West and Russia was being conducted”. The analyst told ČTK, that – in his view - a number of countries no longer thought it necessary to meet Russia in the EU-Russia or NATO-Russia formats as before.