President would veto a 14 percent salary hike for lawmakers

President Miloš Zeman said on Monday he would veto a proposed 14 percent hike in salaries for lawmakers and executive branch officials as of January 2015 if such a bill were approved. The proposal was put forward by the budget committee of the lower house after it won support from deputies groups across the political spectrum. However it was slammed by the government which is pushing for a significantly lower salary increase. The president, who is on a three day visit to south Moravia, said he considered the proposed 14 percent hike inconsiderate and greedy and said deputies should increase their salaries by 3.5 percent which is the salary hike they approved for workers in the public sector next year.

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  • President Zeman again rejects promoting spy chief Koudelka


    The Office of President Miloš Zeman has released a list of people he plans to promote to the rank of general ahead of the anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s founding next week. Yet again, Michal Koudelka, head of the counter-intelligence service BIS, is not on it.

    The president has been highly critical of the BIS in highlighting the activities of Russian and Chinese agents on Czech territory. Zeman has five times rejected the government’s proposal to name Koudelka a general.

    Zeman has accepted other nominees on the government’s list, including Police President Jan Švejdar and Prison Service head Petr Dohnal.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Hackers increasingly target Czech schools’ online sessions


    The number of cyberattacks on online teaching and other videoconferencing sessions is growing, Czech authorities have warned.

    The Ministry of Education is instructing schools to use guidelines prepared by the National Office for Cyber and Information Security (NÚKIB) for holding secure videoconferencing sessions. These include not giving login details and personal data to others.

    According to a report by Check Point Research, cyberattacks have grown by 24 percent in Europe in recent months, as more people use technology at home due to anti-coronavirus measures.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Football: Martin Hašek must pay Sparta CZK 22 mn for breaking contract


    The Czech Football Association has announced that midfielder Martin Hašek must pay 22 million crowns to his old club Sparta Prague for violating his contract.

    Hašek had signed a 2.5-year contract with Sparta in December 2018, which he unilaterally terminated in March. This January, he refused to travel with the first team to train in Spain and was later moved to reserve team.

    Hašek is the son of the Czech international footballer of the same name, and the nephew of former ice hockey goalkeeper Dominik Hašek.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Weather


    Saturday should be partly cloudy throughout most of the country with scattered rain possible in the morning. Average daytime temperatures should range from 14 to 16 degrees Celsius.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Corpse found after fire in Prague homeless encampment


    A charred corpse was found on Thursday evening at a homeless encampment in Prague’s Libeň district where a fire broke out. Police detectives and fire brigade officials have yet to release details about their ongoing investigations at the scene.

    The homeless encampment is located in an area that is difficult to access. According to the Prague Fire Brigade, a gas cylinder damaged by fire was found at the scene as was an open fire pit.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Prague Mayor: City authorities to investigate Prymula’s restaurant visit


    Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirate Party) announced via Twitter that City Hall and the regional hygiene authorities will investigate a visit by Health Minister Roman Prymula (independent) and MP Jaroslav Faltýnek (ANO) to a local restaurant that should have been closed under anti-coronavirus restrictions.

    Hřib said the municipality will conduct administrative proceedings into the actions of legal and natural persons, meaning the businesses and people involved. “Although apparently some may think some people are more equal than others, the rules here still apply to everyone equally," he tweeted.

    Opposition party leaders called on Prymula to resign for having violated a state of emergency restriction to contain the spread of Covid-19 that he himself pushed for. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said he would recall Prymula if he did not step down and is looking to replace him quickly.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Scientist Michal Švanda wins Littera Astronomica award for popularising astronomy


    Astrophysicist and author Michal Švanda has won the Littera Astronomica award for the popularisation of astronomy. Laureates usually receive the prize awarded by the Czech Astronomical Society ČAS at the autumn book fair in Havlíčkův Brod, but the event has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Švanda works in the Solar Department of the Academy of Sciences of the Academy of Sciences in Ondřejov and at the Astronomical Institute of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University.

    The 40-year-old scientist researches the dynamics of phenomena on the Sun and its effects on Earth. He said in a pre-recorded acceptance speech that he considers it part of every scientists’ mission to explain their work to the public using everyday language.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • PM asks Prymula to resign for violating Covid-19 measures by visiting ‚closed‘ restaurant


    Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has asked Health Minister Roman Prymula (independent) to resign just weeks into the role for having violated a state of emergency restriction to contain the spread of Covid-19 he advocated for. Babiš said he is looking to replace Prymula quickly and will discuss the matter with President Miloš Zeman on Friday afternoon.

    Prymula, an epidemiologist, pushed for stricter measures such as closing schools and restaurants. But he met MP Jaroslav Faltýnek, head of the ruling ANO party’s parliamentary group, in a restaurant on Wednesday evening.

    The tabloid newspaper Blesk published corresponding photos, which showed the health minister outside the establishment, not wearing a facemask.

    Faltýnek took responsibility for arranging the meeting and apologised, saying on Friday morning that he knew the restaurant’s owner well and put no one at risk. Babiš said on Friday he has asked Faltynek to resign as the first vice-president of the ANO movement due to the incident.

    Opposition leaders have called on Prymula to step down, accusing him of arrogance and hypocrisy. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats) said the health minister had lost all credibility by failing to comply with the government guidelines he advocated and shown contempt for people fight the pandemic on the front lines.

    "The rules are valid for everyone without exception (...) the state and coalition government cannot be represented by people who do not respect the measures put in place by that same government," Hamáček told the Czech press agency ČTK.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • New footbridge to open in Troja


    A new footbridge linking Stromovka park and the Prague Zoo is due to open to the public on Friday.

    The original bridge collapsed three years ago, injuring four people and sparking a wave of bridge inspections around the country.

    An examination later showed that corrosion of the steel support cables had weakened the bridge.

    Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib has promised that the new footbridge will be safer and wider, so it can also serve as a cycle path.

    The footbridge will open without a ceremony so as to prevent people from gathering during the coronavirus epidemic.

  • Second-highest daily increase in Covid cases registered on Thursday


    Over 14,000 coronavirus cases were registered in the Czech Republic on Thursday; the second time that the daily increase has crossed the 14,000 mark. Overall 223.000 cases have been registered in the country.

    The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 has reached 4,777, of which 735 are in a serious condition. The death toll currently stands at 1,845.