News Greens, Christian Democrats, interested in Marvanová for senatorial run
The Greens and Christian Democrats are reportedly both interested in Marvanová for a senatorial run in communal and Senate elections to be held in the autumn. The respected lawyer, who Time Magazine once wrote about as a potential prime minister when she was a member of the now long defunct grouping of centre-right parties called the Four-Coalition, recently stepped down as deputy justice minister, following clashes with her former boss. The head of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš, also reportedly wanted her as a candidate, but the lawyer has she said she is returning to private practice.
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The state attorney for South Moravia has halted criminal proceedings against the woman who stabbed a 16-year-old student to death. The attorney said that she was not mentally stable when the attack took place and had been treated earlier. The decision to halt proceedings is not final with the move still needing to be approved by the Supreme State Attorney. The attack took place in October last year when the woman arrived at a middle school at Žd’ár nad Sázovou stabbing three students as well as a police officer called to the scene. The woman had been released from care a few months earlier following a similar attack at a school.
Bosses of public broadcaster Czech Television and police are investigating how private companies allegedly used opportunities to sponsor programmes to dodge taxes. The daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported Wednesday that a handful of companies repeatedly inflated the sponsorship totals so that they could be written off against their taxes. The difference between the real amounts paid and higher amounts billed were returned to them. Sums involved amounts to tens of millions of crowns, according to a source quoted by the paper.
In football, the Czech Republic lost 0:1 in the friendly against Slovakia on Tuesday night. The sole goal came in the 49th minute when Ondrej Duda shot low from distance with the bounce leaving Tomáš Vaclík embarrassed in goal. Czech manager Pavel Vrba fielded an experimental teams with established players, such as Petr Čech, Tomáš Rosický and David Lafata, absent. A series of substitutions and a heavy pitch and blustery conditions also had an impact. The loss follows on from the disappointing draw against Latvia on Saturday.
Gale-force winds, with snow and sleet showers in the higher altitudes, have been creating problems around the country for the third day now. A train derailed in the Bruntal region early on Wednesday after hitting a fallen tree and rail traffic is also disrupted in the Plzen region where workers are clearing a number of fallen trees from the rail tracks. Power lines are down in many parts of the country and a number of smaller roads have been closed to traffic. The police report a heightened number of accidents and have warned drivers not to set out for the mountain areas without winter tires.
The US convoy which spent four days in the Czech Republic on its way back from a military exercise in the Baltic states left Prague’s Ruzyne barracks in the early hours of Wednesday and is returning to its home base in Bavaria. It is expected to reach the Czech-German border at around midday. Fears that it could meet with negative reactions in the Czech Republic proved unfounded. The convoy was greeted by thousands of people lining the country’s roads and highways and over 20,000 people came to the military’s Ruzyne barracks to meet with the soldiers and inspect their military technology. A thousand people attended a concert given in the troops honour on Tuesday night.
Gale-force winds sweeping the country since Monday have caused considerable material damage, the ctk news agency reports citing the country’s leading insurance companies. The leading insurer, Česka Pojištovna says that in two days people have filed 160 claims for insurance mainly relating to damaged roofs and cars damaged by falling trees. The company says it expects to pay out around 25 million crowns in insurance in connection with the bad weather.
President Zeman wants to open a debate on a time frame for Czech adoption of the euro, the ctk news agency reports. According to the president’s spokesman Mr. Zeman wants to meet with Prime Minister Sobotka next week to discuss a possible meeting on the euro at Lany Chateau in the coming months. The meeting should be attended by Finance Minister Andrej Babis, the governor of the central bank Miroslav Singer and bank board member Jiri Rusnok. The president has already stated his intention of making Mr. Rusnok central bank governor when Mr. Singer’s term in office expires. He has criticized Mr. Singer’s policy at the head of the central bank and even suggested that he is intentionally putting a brake on the process of preparing for euro adoption. The president and prime minister favour euro adoption and Mr. Zeman would like to see the country adopt the euro by 2017.
Part of the US convoy travelled to the West Bohemian town of Plzeň to pay homage to the US soldiers who died liberating Czechoslovakia in WWII. Over a thousand people congregated in the streets of the city to greet them as the troops made their way to the Thank You America Memorial to lay wreaths and flowers. The US Ambassador to Prague Andrew Shapiro who was also present said the US soldiers were given a great reception, confirming the people’s strong support for NATO and the US.
President Miloš Zeman has spoken out in favour of creating a joint European military that would be cheaper and more effective than the present system. Mr. Zeman said a European military should help the US in dealing with global threats and crisis situations. It is no longer possible that all problems plaguing Europe be dealt with by the United States. A joint European military would help face aggression better from whatever part of the world it might come, the president said in a statement. President Zeman first broached the idea last year saying that a second NATO pillar – to complement the American one –should have the form of a European military “in harmony with the trend of European integration.”
The US convoy which spent the day in Prague on Tuesday attracted crowds of people to the army’s Ruzyně barracks. Hundreds of people, including families with children, braved the cold weather cuing up in wind and rain to greet the troops and inspect US military technology close-up. The US troops also got a visit from Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Defense Minister Martin Stropnický and the US Ambassador to Prague Andrew Schapiro. Prime Minister Sobotka said that the country’s security was strengthened by the US presence in Europe and he was glad that the majority of Czechs clearly appreciated the fact.