News PM Sobotka rejects president’s criticism of Paskov mine rescue plan
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Monday rejected President Miloš Zeman’s criticism of the government’s rescue plan for the north Moravian Paskov coal mine. The cabinet is planning to offer some 1.1 billion crowns to the unprofitable mine’s owner, OKD, in order to keep the mine operational until 2016. President Zeman told Czech Radio on Sunday this suggested the government was helplessness. However, the prime minister said his government would not remain passive, and seek ways to help the mine’s employees. The issue has also sparked a dispute within the coalition after the ANO party refused the back the plan.
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The City of Prague has decided to suspend its twinning with the Russian cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Mayor Tomáš Hudeček wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. The move comes in response to what the mayor described as the Putin regime’s arbitrary attack on Ukraine, which threatened not only Ukraine’s sovereignty but the security of the whole of Europe. Mr. Hudeček called on other Czech cities to follow Prague’s lead in this regard. The Czech capital is twinned with more than two dozen cities around the world.
In an address to the lower house on Tuesday, President Miloš Zeman warned MPs he would take a civil service bill to the Constitutional Court if they push the legislation through despite his previously signaled veto. Mr. Zeman said the amendment would not achieve its stated aim of depoliticising the civil service but would rather make it more politicised. The government has won support for the bill by taking on board opposition demands, including dropping a provision to create a top civil servant whose office would control the entire system. Mr. Zeman is critical of a provision under which every minister would have at most two deputies who are political appointees.
The Czech Republic will have some comments on proposed new European Union sanctions against Russia, the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has said. Mr. Sobotka said on Tuesday that Prague would need to proceed in a manner that most took into account the interests of both the Czech Republic and the EU. He said he regarded escalating sanctions as highly risky.
The Proton Therapy Centre in Prague has issued a statement with regard to reports that it received an application to treat Ashya King, a five-year-old English boy with a brain tumour whose parents are being held in custody after removing him from a hospital in the UK. The Proton Therapy Centre said the application had unfortunately not included health documentation that would have allowed its doctors and specialists to assess the boy’s state. However, it said if the boy was suffering from a medulloblastoma, as his father had stated, proton beam treatment would be a good choice. The boy and his family were found in Spain following a Europe-wide search by police.
Speaking on the eve of a friendly against the USA in Prague, Czech football manager Pavel Vrba said he was curious how players who have not appeared for their clubs would look in training and during the match itself. Neither of the team’s leading players, Tomáš Rosický of Arsenal and Petr Čech of Chelsea, have performed so far this season. Vrba said they would on the other hand be rested for Wednesday’s game, which precedes a European Championship qualifier against the Netherlands next week.
The National Museum in Prague has taken possession of 700,000 documents and other items from the Museum of the Workers’ Movement. The materials map Czech and Czechoslovak political, social and cultural history in the second half of the last century. Among the acquisitions are the written capitulation of German forces in Prague on May 8 1945, the original manuscript of letters written by Communist journalist Julius Fučík shortly before his execution by the Nazis, a figure carved out of bread by Antonín Zápotocký when he was in prison and a bust of Lenin. Some of the items will go on display in the National Museum’s main building, which is undergoing renovations due to conclude in 2018.
Police in Prague have arrested a man who threatened people with a weapon at an emergency admissions building at the city’s Střešovice hospital on Tuesday morning. They subdued the man, who was reportedly intent on committing suicide and donating his organs, by using a taser electroshock weapon and took him away for questioning, police spokesperson Tomáš Hulan told the Czech News Agency. Nobody was injured during the incident.
A new feature-length documentary about the famous Czech traveller Miroslav Zikmund received a pre-premiere screening in his town of Zlín on Monday night. Petr Horký’s film Století Miroslava Zikmunda (Miroslav Zikmund’s Century) will enter cinema distribution on Thursday. Speaking at a sold-out Velké kino cinema, Mr. Zikmund, who is 95, recalled presenting the pair’s first full-length film on the same stage in the 1950s with his travelling partner Jiří Hanzelka, who died in 2003. The two visited more than 80 countries in a Tatra car between 1947 and 1950 and 1959 and 1964 before being barred from travelling or participating in public life after 1968.
Czech Paralympics champion Jiří Ježek, who was seriously injured at the World Championship in Greenville on Sunday is in serious but stable condition and will have to undergo more surgery in the coming days, according to his coach Viktor Zapletal. The 39-year-old suffered a serious chest injury requiring emergency surgery and several fractures. Doctors were planning to operate on his arm on Tuesday but may have to put off surgery for fear of infection. There is no word on when he could be transported home.
The Czech government has received the EC’s proposal for new sanctions against Russia and the cabinet will meet to debate the proposal on Wednesday, the Office of the Government announced in a press release on Tuesday morning. A tripartite meeting of government officials, trade union leaders and employers will be held on Thursday to debate the impact of the proposed sanctions. The Czech prime minister said at the EU summit that the country reserved the right to reject the sanctions should they cause disproportionately high economic losses. His cautious stand has come under fire from opposition parties and the coalition Christian Democrats who likened it to the Munich Agreement of 1938. The opposition parties have demanded that a special session of cabinet be held on the issue.