News ANO party surging ahead in popularity ratings
The ANO party of the ruling coalition has surged ahead in popularity ratings. According to a survey conducted by the polling agency Aisa the party would now get 31 percent voter support, as compared to the 18.6 percent it won in last year’s general elections. The Social Democrats, which won the elections with just over 20 percent of the vote, would now only get 16 percent, followed by the Communist Party with 11.5 percent and TOP 09 with 11 percent of the vote. The Civic Democrats would get 7 percent and the junior party in the ruling coalition would get 5.5 only just crossing the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house.
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Members of the government are to take part in a special meeting to discuss security in the Czech Republic as well as the European Union ahead of a Council of Europe meeting on Sunday. The prime minister is to push for stronger controls of the EU's Schengen borders. Other aspects of the continuing migrant crisis are also to be discussed. Security is at the forefront following the recent attacks in Paris which saw 129 people die at the hands of extremists. Saturday's meeting is to be attended by the head of the police as well as intelligence officials.
The Boston Bruins' David Krejčí found the back of the net with just
a minute remaining in the Bruins' match against the New York Rangers
on Friday to seal a 4:3 result. The Bruins are on a five-game winning
streak and are currently third in the Atlantic division, behind Ottawa and
In other hockey action on Friday, Philadelphia Flyers' goalie Michal Neuwirth turned away 33 shots in his team's 3:2 overtime win against Nashville. Neuwirth was named the game's second star.
Opposition lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament on Friday successfully obstructed a planned vote on a new bill on electronic cash registers, sought by the Finance Ministry to curb the grey economy and clamp down on tax evasion. The system is also to bring in an extra two billion crowns. The sum of two billion is accounted for in the draft state budget for 2016. If the bill on electronic cash registers is not passed in time, Finance Minister Andrej Babǐs said the shortfall would not be a major problem to cover from other sources. A final reading on next year's state budget is scheduled for December 9. The centre-right opposition opposes the electronic cash register system on the grounds it will add extra work and expenditures for business owners and end up hurting small businesses.
The Czech Republic should consider following Slovakia in filing a lawsuit against the European Union over compulsory refugee quotas, the country’s minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, said on Friday. The ANO chief described the quota system as nonsensical and unworkable and said he would discuss the matter with cabinet colleagues. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who opposed the quotas but accepted an EU vote on the matter, said he could not understand Mr. Babiš’s change of view on the subject.
The number of reported crimes in the Czech Republic involving the theft of metals decreased by over half between March and November compared to the same period last year. Police recorded just over 8,000 such crimes in those months in 2014; this year the figure was slightly more than 3,400, according to the Ministry for the Environment. Officials said the fall was connected to an edict issued on March 1 barring the payment of cash for metals.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has met his Chinese counterpart, Li Cheng, at the close of a week-long official visit to the world’s most populous state. Twelve memoranda and contracts on cooperation in healthcare, sport and other areas were signed in the presence of the two men at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. Mr. Sobotka told reporters that cooperation between the two states was constantly evolving, particularly in the healthcare field.
An art group who protested against President Miloš Zeman by replacing the president’s flag at Prague Castle with a huge pair of red boxer shorts will not face punishment, Czech Television reported on Friday, quoting an official at the Prague Municipal Court. In a closed hearing earlier this week the court confirmed that members of the Ztohoven group should not stand trial. A district court had previously decided that they should not face punishment but the verdict was appealed by the state attorney.
Though the two states are incomparable in terms of size of economy and population, the Czech Republic is an important partner for China within the framework of the European Union, says the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Sobotka made the comment during a trip to the Hebei province on the final day of a week-long official visit to China. He said Czech agricultural equipment had been sent to Hebei in the 1950s and since then people there had followed events in the Czech Republic. Mr. Sobotka is heading a large delegation including three ministers and numerous Czech business people.
Czech crime boss Radovan Krejčíř has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a court in Prague for attempting to asset-strip the company Čepro and plotting the murder of a customs officer. Mr. Krejčíř is currently behind bars in South Africa after being found guilty of attempted murder and drug possession. He was previously found guilty in the Czech Republic of massive tax evasion and other crimes. The 47-year-old fled the country in 2005 after managing to escape during a police raid of his home.
Police in Prague have charged seven people in connection with overcharging tourists for taxi rides in the capital. Six of them are taxi drivers and the seventh is an official at City Hall suspected of taking bribes to leak information on planned checks, a spokesperson for the police said on Friday. The seven are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud. The police arrested the taxi drivers earlier this week. It was the first time they had taken such action in connection with overcharging.