Fiscal reform passed in second reading
The government's fiscal reform package was approved by the Lower House of the Czech Parliament in the second reading on Wednesday while Ludvik Hovorka of the Christian Democrats was the only coalition deputy who did not vote for the reform. The Lower House is scheduled to vote on the final adoption of the reform package on Tuesday but former finance minister and Civic Democratic Party deputy Vlastimil Tlusty told the CTK news agency that further changes need to be incorporated into the reform so that he votes for it next week. According to Mr Tlusty the planned cuts in tax rebates are too high and would actually increase the tax burden for many people in 2009. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek now wants to meet with Mr Tlusty to debate possible changes to the reform package.
Social Democrats say they will take "irregularities" in the reform package to court
The head of the Social Democrats' deputies group in the lower house Michal Hasek said on Wednesday that if the reform package was approved in its present form he would file a complaint against it with the Constitutional Court. According to the Social Democrats the ruling coalition is proposing some modifications in the form of a "rider" i.e. an amendment to a bill that is not directly related to it, a practice which the Constitutional Court has overruled in the past.
Prague Jewish Community complains about racism at Sparta football stadium
Frantisek Banyai, the head of the Prague Jewish Community, together with director of the Prague Jewish Museum Leo Pavlat, sent an open letter to the management of the Sparta Prague football club concerning open anti-Semitic slogans that could be heard during the game against Arsenal on Wednesday. Parts of the audience yelled the slogan "Jude Slavia" referring to Sparta city rival Slavia that was playing on the same day. According to the senders, the term is used in a derogatory way and some of Sparta's fans thus openly embrace Nazi-type anti-Semitism. Mr Banyai and Mr Pavlat hope the club will do everything to prevent this from happening in the future.
Soviet-caused accident in 1980 will be compensated
The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that the interior ministry made a mistake refusing to compensate a man from Decin whose father died in 1980 in an accident caused by Soviet troops occupying Czechoslovakia. The ministry refused the application in 2006 due to the fact that the man was already paid an allowance of 2,800 crowns in 1980. The court said that both legal and ethical principles must be employed when deciding on such matters, and the Interior Ministry clearly failed to do so. The man is now entitled to compensation of 150,000 crowns.
Six charged with human organ trafficking in Brno
Six employees from a hospital in Brno - Bohunice have been charged with trafficking organs, the daily Pravo reported on Thursday. Six staff members of the hospital's tissue bank are in suspicion that they took part in an international trade with human organs. At least one of the medics charged is facing eight years in prison, the highest penalty possible for such a crime. The case was discovered three years ago by the police who tracked down of the shipments of xenograft sent to a company in the Netherlands. The hospital lost seven million crowns, or 340,000 US dollars, due to the crime. Most of the accused still work in the hospital in Brno.
Man hit by 25,000 Volts at Brno train station
A 21-year-old man in Brno suffered serious burns on Wednesday night at the main train station in Brno after he climbed on top of a train and was hit by an electrical charge of 25,000 Volts. The accident caused a power outage at the station which made the staff call an ambulance. The accident happened at the time when Czech Railways is launching a campaign warning people of accidents in similar situations. The campaign includes a controversial poster showing a man hit by electric current.
Slavia beats Ajax Amsterdam, Sparta loses to Arsenal in CL qualifier
Slavia Prague surprisingly beat the firm the favourite Ajax Amsterdam 1:0 on Wednesday in the third preliminary round of the Champions League. Slavia has already attempted to enter the main phase of the prestigious Champions League five times. After the victory in Amsterdam, the team's hope of advancing have risen significantly. The second leg scheduled for Prague in two weeks' time. Sparta Prague, the other Czech team struggling to enter the Champions League, lost their home match against Arsenal London 2:0, and its chances of advancing are negligible.
It is expected to be mostly cloudy with occasional rain showers. The temperatures should drop to between 22 and 26 degrees Centigrade and even lower, to 18 degrees, in the western regions.