News

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Communists want public vote in presidential election

The Communist Party announced on Tuesday it would support a public vote in the second presidential election due to be held on Friday, February 15. The Communists have also decided not to vote for incumbent president Václav Klaus, nominated by the Civic Democrats, and support one of the five candidates whose names they announced on Sunday. The presidential candidates proposed by the Communists include ombudsman Otakar Motejl, former dissident and foreign minister Jiří Dienstbier, the chairman of the Constitutional Court Pavel Rychteský, MEP Jana Bobošíková and the head of the Czech Academy of Sciences Václav Pačes.

Civic Democrat senators nominate Václav Klaus for president

All 41 senators of the ruling Civic Democratic Party have nominated Václav Klaus, the incumbent President and the party’s honorary chairman, for the second presidential election, which is due to be held on Friday. His challenger Jan Švejnar has received 11 nominations by four groups of senators, including the opposition Social Democrats. Unlike Mr Švejnar, Václav Klaus will also be nominated by Civic Democrats in the lower house.

Czech senators supporting Václav Klaus receive bullets in post

Five senators and deputies who voted for incumbent President Václav Klaus in last week’s presidential election received bullets in the post on Tuesday. The bullets were uncovered in two envelopes during a routine X-ray check of the post. An unknown perpetrator is also said to have threatened Mrs Juřenčáková by sending her a vulgar SMS on Friday night before the third round of the presidential election.

Social Democratic MP considers resignation

One of the deputies who received a bullet in the post is Evžen Snítilý of the Social Democrats. Deputy Snítilý, who collapsed during the presidential election on Saturday after reportedly being pressurized to vote for Mr. Klaus, said on Tuesday he was considering leaving the Social Democratic Party and resigning on his mandate as a deputy. He said he hadn’t yet made up his mind who to support in Friday’s second presidential election.

Communists seek radar opposition for Švejnar’s support

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said he was unwilling to accept the Communists’ terms of support for Jan Švejnar in Friday’s presidential election. The Communists said on Monday they were ready to vote for Jan Švejnar if the Social Democrats and the Greens promised not to support the US missile defence system in the Czech Republic. Mr Schwarzenberg said that if the Social Democrats and the Greens acceded to this condition, Mr Švejnar’s candidature would immediately lose sense.

New law to protect privacy of crime victims

The government has approved a new amendment to the Criminal Code, which is supposed to protect the privacy of victims of crime. Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil said that under the new law it wouldn’t be possible to publish names and photos of juvenile victims without their parents’ approval. The ban on publishing private information will include adult victims of crime as well.

Czech police to help Czech tourists in Croatia

Czech police officers are to help Czech tourists in Croatia during the summer season, the Czech and Croatian Prime Ministers Mirek Topolánek and Ivo Sanaders announced after their meeting on Tuesday. Mr Topolánek said the Czech-Croatian negotiations were accelerated by the case of two Czech female tourists, who were reportedly beaten up by Croatian police in September. The Czech police officers are to assist their Croatian colleagues in cases involving Czech tourists. Croatia is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Czechs. About one million Czech tourists visited the country in 2006.

Czech population over 65 to rise by one million by 2050

The number of Czechs over 65 is expected to increase by one million by 2050, according to the calculations of the Czech Statistical Office. There are currently about 1.5 million people over 65 living in the Czech Republic, which has a population of 10 million. Their share is expected to make up almost one quarter of the population by 2030 and one third by 2050.

The Czech cabinet on Monday approved a pension reform bill that would gradually increase the retirement age to 65 years. At present males usually retire at the age of 61, childless females at the age of 60 and mothers earlier, according to the number of children. The reform bill also wants to extend the obligatory social insurance period to 35 years. Under the new bill, mothers of two or more children would still have a chance to retire earlier.

Barbora Škrlová accused of child abuse

The police have accused Barbora Škrlová, a Czech woman of 33 who attempted to pass herself off as a teenage girl and later a teenage boy, of abusing the 7-year-old son of her acquaintance Klára Mauerová. Ms Škrlová lived with Mauerová's family as the boy's stepsister for several weeks. Last May, Mrs Mauerová was charged with abusing her son, keeping him bound and naked in a closet. Brabora Škrlová was believed to be a victim of abuse herself but she is now accused of having been involved in the maltreatment.

The Czech Republic to contribute half a billion to new NATO headquarters

The government on Monday earmarked some 21 million euros as the country’s contribution towards the construction of NATO’s new headquarters in Brussels. The sum will be paid over the next six years. The total cost is expected to come up to 1.15 billion euros.

Weather

The next few days are expected to be mostly sunny with daytime temperatures reaching between 4 to 8 degrees Celsius.