News Former prime minister Jiří Rusnok joins central bank board
Former prime minister Jiří Rusnok on Friday joined the seven-member board of the Czech National Bank. The 53-year old economist and former finance minister was hand-picked for the post by President Miloš Zeman. He replaces Eva Zamrazilová whose six-year mandate on the board ended in February. Mr. Rusnok’s appointment, the first of five that the president is due to make during his term in office, is expected to soften the board's currently Eurosceptic outlook. The central bank determines the monetary policy of the country and decides on fundamental monetary policy measures. It is also responsible for supervision over the entire financial market, including banks, insurance companies and the capital market.
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Czech women’s tennis team is leading 2:0 against defending champions Italy in their Fed Cup semi-finals tie in Ostrava after Lucie Šafářová defeated Italy’s number one Sara Errani 6-4 6-1 in the opening singles match on Saturday. In the second Rubber, best Czech player Petra Kvitová beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2.
The Czech government is planning to launch an amnesty for illegally held firearms in July, Czech TV reported on Saturday quoting government legislation. Members of the public will be invited to hand in unregistered firearms and ammunition without facing penalties or legal action; they will also be able to apply for permit so that they can keep the weapons legally. The last gun amnesty was held in 2009 when the police retrieved 7,000 firearms.
The Czech Republic’s largest health insurance firm, VZP, has invited some 408,000 of its clients for cancer screening, a spokesman for the company said. The insurer is planning to reach all of its 1.2 million clients who should regularly be screened for the disease but fail to turn up. These include women aged between 25 and 70 to be screened for breast and cervical cancer; both men and women aged between 50 and 70 should be tested for colorectal and anal cancer. Other Czech health insurance companies are also taking part in the campaign, in total, they want to send out 1.85 invites by the end of the year; those who choose to ignore the invitation will be approached again next year.
PSG Zlín defeated Kometa Brno 3-0 at home on Friday, taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven playoffs’ final series. Zlín goals came in the 16th, 40th and 55th minutes; Kometa have so far scored no goals in the final series. The series now moves to Brno where the third game is scheduled for Monday.
The A line of Prague metro has been closed for maintenance work for the duration of the Easter holidays. The entire line closed on Friday afternoon, and is set to reopen on Tuesday, April 22nd. Prague’s transport authority advise travellers to use the XA tram line instead, or other tram and bus lines. English-speaking staffers at metro stations are providing information about alternative routes, a spokesman for the transport firm said.
A court of arbitration, part of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, has ordered the building firm Metrostav to complete Prague’s Blanka tunnel complex within five months. The court also said the city of Prague had to pay 4.04 billion crowns to the firm. The decision came months after work on the controversial tunnel was halted last December over disputes between the company and Prague City Hall. A Metrostav spokesman said the firm would resume work as soon as it received the payment while Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček said the city would pay the required sum. However, the construction company has in the meantime demanded the city pay another billion crowns; the court of arbitration will deal with the latest petition in June. The Blanka tunnel, designed to channel traffic from the city centre, has been criticized as an overpriced and non-transparent project. Its total costs are expected to reach some 36 billion crowns.
Michal Klepetek, a ballet dancer of the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, has won the Czech Mr Gay pagent. The 28-year-old dancer defeated another six finalists in the competition’s final held in a Prague theatre on Friday night. The contestants competed in several rounds including a swimsuit catwalk, question responses, and a free discipline. The organizers raised 35,000 crowns that was donated to a cancer-research endowment fund.
The police chief of Uherské Hradiště, Bronislav Šabršula, is being investigated on suspicion of drink-driving, Czech Television reported on Friday. The police was alerted to the incident by another driver who reported that a vehicle ahead of him was manoeuvring dangerously on the road and its driver could be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police found the respective vehicle parked on the roadside with the police chief fast asleep behind the steering wheel. He refused a Breathalyzer and blood test and insisted that he had not driven the car but had merely moved to the driver’s seat after having had a row with the driver who had left him in the lurch. The car’s side mirror had been smashed.
The former head of the Czech Prison Service Petr Dohnal who was dismissed for incompetence by Justice Minister Helena Válková last week has filed a complaint against the decision which he says was unsubstantiated and illegal. Dohnal said Válková had blamed him for mistakes made by the previous management. The minister countered that Mr. Dohnal had made no attempt to correct the mistakes after taking office and she did not believe him capable of undertaking a reform of the prison service. The complaint will be dealt with by an expert commission.
The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry is proposing the return of a maternity grant for the birth of a second child to the tune of 10,000 crowns. Within its austerity programme the former centre-right government of Petr Nečas scrapped the state contribution for the birth of a second child, meaning that parents now only get one-off state support for the birth of their first child to the tune of 13,000 crowns. This sum is paid out to parents whose joint income does not exceed 2.4 times the minimum income. The proposal still needs to win approval in government and Parliament.