Fiala's government survives its first no-confidence vote

Plus: Czech tennis duo defeat Williams sisters, Babiš compares Orbán to Havel, Russian anti-Putin punk band to play in Prague.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 01.09.2022 16:03:00 (updated on 02.09.2022) Reading time: 6 minutes

Politics Fiala's government survives its first no-confidence vote

The Czech coalition government of Petr Fiala as expected survived the first attempt at a no-confidence vote initiated by the opposition ANO with support of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) in the Chamber of Deputies today. The five-party cabinet of the Civic Democrats (ODS), Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), TOP 09, Pirates, and Mayors and Independents (STAN) will keep governing with the confidence of the lower house of Czech parliament.

ANO, supported by the SPD, initiated the no-confidence vote over the affair around intelligence service (ÚZSI) head Petr Mlejnek, who resigned from the post, and the government's steps in tackling the energy crisis. The debate in the lower house before the vote lasted 22 hours continuously, starting on Thursday afternoon. All 84 opposition MPs present voted no confidence in the cabinet and 100 MPs from the government coalition voted against it, while at least an absolute majority of 101 votes in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies was needed to topple the government.  

Health Some Czech food contaminated with mold, cadmium

Some food in Czechia is still contaminated with molds and also significant amounts of cadmium, the National Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) said. In this respect, the Czech Republic ranks among the most dangerous states in the world, the SZÚ said. On the other hand, Czech people's nutrition has become less burdened with PCB, and the lead burden has also dropped. Tests showed that potential doses of poisonous toxins can be taken by people through black and fruit teas, self-raising flour, pasta, rice, pepper, walnuts, peas, and even baby food. Significant sources of cadmium include potatoes, bakery products, flour, pasta, and rice. 

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Sports Czech pair beat the Williams sisters in U.S. Open

Czech tennis players Lucie Hradecká and Linda Nosková beat Venus and Serena Williams at the U.S. Open women’s doubles in the first round on Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. A crowd of 23,859 fans gave the Williams sisters a standing ovation, as this is likely the last time the sisters will compete together. Serena has said she intends to retire. Hradecká said she was shocked that they won. “I’m so sorry for you that we beat them, but we are so happy that we did it,” she told the crowd after the match. Nosková said that playing against the Williams sisters is “a special moment for everybody, anyone and anytime.”

Politics Babiš compares Hungary's Orbán to Havel

During the ongoing parliamentary session ahead of a vote of no confidence in the government, ANO movement head Andrej Babiš compared right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to former Czech president Václav Havel. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský had criticized Babiš’s ties to Orban, saying that Babiš allowed Orban to use him like a puppet.

Lower house speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová condemned Babiš’s remarks. “The person who talks about the fact that races must not mix is really not the Hungarian Václav Havel, as Andrej Babiš tries to tell us. Unfortunately, Viktor Orbán is now the Hungarian Tomio Okamura at best,” she said. The no-confidence vote is expected to fail, and the opposition ANO and SPD movements lack enough votes.

Civil society Forum 2000 conference awards Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan

The Forum 2000 international conference gave an award for courage to Chinese female journalist and former lawyer Zhang Zhan, who was convicted and imprisoned in her homeland over her articles highlighting the development of the Covid pandemic in China. The Forum 2000 conference of world personalities and thinkers is taking place in Prague from Wednesday to Friday, with the threat to democracy and reactions to it as the main topic on the agenda.

The forum was opened by Prime Minister Petr Fiala and was also joined online by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The annual Forum 2000 conference was established in 1996 by then-Czech president Vaclav Havel along with writer Elie Wiesel and Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa.

Crime Young man charged with planning terror attack in Czechia

The Regional Court in Brno will deal with a case of a suspected preparation of a terror attack in Czechia inspired by similar acts abroad. A juvenile boy, aged under 18, is charged, Olomouc High Public Prosecutor Radim Daňhel told ČTK. His office brought the charges in this case in mid-August. The Brno Regional Court has already received the charges and will decide on whether to remand the suspect in custody in early September. Daňhel said the suspect was already taking steps to prepare the attack.  

Culture Russian punk band Pussy Riot to play in Prague

The Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, known for its criticism of President Vladimir Putin, will play in Prague’s MeetFactory on Sept. 8. Proceeds from the concert will go to the reconstruction of a child hospital in Kyiv, news server Seznam Zprávy reported. The band’s founding member Maria Alyokhina will return to Prague after three years. She spent last year in prison for participating in protests against the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  

Sept. 1, 2022

Education Czech president Zeman opens new school year in Lány

Czech President Miloš Zeman along with his wife opened the new school year in Lány, reminding the pupils of Czech philosopher and teacher Jan Amos Komenský's motto “schola ludus” (school by play). Zeman praised the Lány school tradition that the final-year pupils are "patrons" of the first graders. "I would be very glad if this habit spread to other schools as well because we should learn to protect those who are starting, who are younger and therefore more vulnerable," Zeman said. He compared school to a game followed by "the game called life" and wished the pupils that they are successful in both of these "games."

Equality Czechia has its first female professional firefighter

Starting today, Czech firefighters have the first woman in a field unit. Michaela Žďárská joined the fire station in Prague's Holešovice. In the Czech Republic, women have so far only been able to fight fires as volunteers. Czechia is behind other countries, Vladimír Vlček, director general of Czech Fire Service (HZS ČR), said. "We have to go with the times. Within Europe, especially Western Europe, around 3 to 5 percent of women serve. … In the United States, it is even significantly more. There it is almost 20 percent in some units," Vlček added.

Defense Czechia, Germany finish details for gift of Leopard tanks

The Czech Republic and Germany have finished the legal and technical details concerning a gift of 15 German Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Czech military. Now the government members will discuss the deals that will be then signed. At the same time, the first tanks are being adjusted in Germany in order to make them suit the needs of Czech troops, she added. Germany will give Czechia 15 Leopard tanks as compensation for the heavy vehicles that Czechia donated to Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia in February. Both countries will also start talks on the purchase of up to 50 state-of-the-art Leopards 2A7+ tanks with various modifications, Defense Minister Jana Černochová said in May.

Crime Appeal court annuls prison sentences in football subsidy scandal

An appeals court canceled the prison sentences given to Czech Football Association (FAČR) ex-head Miroslav Pelta and former deputy education minister Simona Kratochvílová in a case concerning sports subsidies and returned the case to the Prague Municipal Court, public broadcaster Czech TV reported. Last November, the Prague Municipal Court sentenced Pelta to six years in prison, a five-year professional ban, and a CZK 5 million fine for illegally manipulating sports subsidies, and Kratochvílová was given a 6.5-year prison sentence, a six-year professional ban, and a CZK 2 million fine.

Weather Weekend should be warm with occasional showers

The forecast for the Czech Republic promises to be clear until the weekend, showers might not appear until Saturday afternoon. The mornings will be cool, but weekend daytime temperatures may reach above 25 degrees Celsius, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ). Friday morning will be mostly clear to partly cloudy, in the afternoon it will be cloudy.

Over the weekend, the sky should become cloudy in places. Occasional showers and light rain may occur on Saturday, and occasional thunderstorms will also appear on Sunday. Summer temperatures should remain at the beginning of next week. According to the forecast, on Monday it will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated showers.

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