News Civil service bill set for approval in lower house next week
After seven hours of debates, Czech MPs on Wednesday night backed the government’s civil service bill which is now set for approval; the final legislative round is to begin in the lower house next week. The opposition has threatened to filibuster the draft legislation; the TOP 09 and Civic Democrat parties claim that if passed, the bill would make it difficult to dismiss public servants currently holding positions in the state administration. The bill is long overdue according to the EU and several anti-corruption NGOs which believe that it should, among other things, curb corruption among public employees.
For the daily news summary, available after 8pm CET, click here.
Pavlíná Pížová, a Czech woman who survived a month in an isolated spot in New Zealand following the death of her partner, is set to return to the Czech Republic on Tuesday, Czech news sites reported. The body of her partner Ondřej Petr has been identified and an autopsy is taking place at the start of this week, bringing the case to a close, the sites said. Their ordeal made headlines around the world after Ms. Pížová was discovered in a mountain cabin; she had survived three nights in the snow prior to finding the shelter and was unable to return to civilisation due to adverse weather conditions.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic are set to reach up to 30 degrees Celsius again next weekend. A cold front has brought an end to the heatwave of recent days, with storms crossing the country from west to east on Monday. Tuesday should be the coolest day of the week with daytime highs of up to 24 degrees Celsius. Temperatures will gradually climb through the week and could hit up to 30 degrees Celsius on Saturday and 31 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
Police in Prague have arrested a 47-year-old man for shooting at people from his apartment window with an air pistol, the news website iDnes.cz reported. A 55-year-old man was injured and ended up in hospital as a result of Sunday’s incident, which took place in the Palmovka district of the city. The shooter could face three to 10 years in prison if found guilty of attempted grievous bodily harm. Witnesses said the shots were targeted at homeless people drinking on a bench.
Inmates at a prison in Vinařice, central Bohemia are to be allowed to continue working in a call centre, Czech Television reported. They will again offer the services of mobile operator T-Mobile, a project that was previously halted over fears that the prisoners could get access to customers’ private information. However, the Office for the Protection of Personal Data dismissed those concerns as unfounded. The Ministry of Justice says working can encourage prison inmates to learn work habits and reduces the likelihood of their reoffending.
The Czech national soccer team have gathered in Prague ahead of their first games under new coach Karel Jarolím. The Czechs are set to face Armenia in a friendly in Mladá Boleslav on Wednesday before taking on Northern Ireland in Prague in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday. Five players, including Petr Čech, retired from international football after the recent Euro 2016, at which the Czech Republic picked up just one point in three games.
Slavia Prague football club have sacked their manager, Dušan Uhrin Jr. Slavia have only five points after four league games so far this season and lost a Europa League playoff against Anderlecht 6:0 on aggregate. Their latest defeat came against Viktoria Plzeň at the weekend. The chairman of Slavia’s board, Jaroslav Tvrdík, said he expected to see the next management team introduce marked changes in both style of play and the attitude of players.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš is planning to submit a plan to reduce value-added tax on draught beer to the coalition for the second time at a meeting on Wednesday. Mr. Babiš wants draught beer to be moved from the 21-percent to the 15-percent VAT band. When he put forward the same proposal in January he said it would help pubs hit by increased costs stemming for an electronic cash-register system connected to a tax authority database. Coalition partners the Social Democrats responded with a proposal to cut VAT on essential foodstuffs. The right-wing opposition said Mr. Babiš’s plan amounted to populism and pre-election campaigning.
Tram and trolley bus services in Plzeň were disrupted on Monday morning when lightning struck an electrical substation in the West Bohemian city. The lightning hit a building in central Plzeň that serves as an operating centre for tram and trolley bus electrical substations, knocking them out for around 40 minutes. Public transport officials dispatched substitute buses but they failed to satisfy passenger demand at a time when many people were going to work.
Seven measuring stations in the Czech Republic (operational for at least 30 years) recorded record highs on Sunday, August 28. The heatwave largely affected parts of Central and West Bohemia. The highest temperature measured on the day (although not a record there) was in Brandýs nad Labem: 33.7 degrees Celsius. Temperatures are expected to drop on Monday.