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Last week’s events – 28 August-3 September

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ODS made public its election programme on Monday. There may be no elections in October and the caretaker cabinet led by Jan Fischer may not be interim in the end, the press has reported earlier this week; the Constitutional Court postponed on Tuesday the general elections in reaction to MP’s Miloš Melčák formal complaint disputing the constitutionality of the amendment that shortened the tenure of members of Parliament in order to initiate early elections. Party leaders want to push through a permanent constitutional amendment under which early elections could be held in early November.

>>> “If I was a normal citizen who goes to shopping malls regularly, I would definitely buy sufficient supply of light bulbs that would suffice for the rest of my life, which will not last much longer anyway,” said President Václav Klaus in reaction to an EU regulation, valid from 1 September, banning the sale of traditional light bulbs which are to be replaced with energy-saving ones.

>>> The first morning frost came on the last weekend in August. St Nicholas was spotted on the streets of Mladá Boleslav – he was accompanying Communist deputy Miloslava Vostrá, who was presenting her new cookbook of Christmas recipes, Právo reported on Saturday.

>>> “I’m a man with a mask. Even men need protection,” said ODS head Mirek Topolánek, wearing a serious expression and looking through the face bars of an hockey helmet, in a video published on the social network Facebook, in which he mocks the theory that the attack on him in Hustopeče was organised by his party. “A clash of political parties has to be a clash of ideas, visions, programmes, but definitely not a clash of stones, boiled or raw eggs,” said Prague Mayor Pavel Bém in an interview for Saturday’s Právo. “If you have a bucket of dung water, you can spill it on anybody,” said TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg, illustrating his point that his political rivals could theoretically dig up scandal to spoil his reputation before the elections and decrease his party’s preferences which are now at 11.4%.

>>> The new school year has started. Some banks have launched campaigns to attract students to open advantageous accounts with them, Lidové noviny reported on Monday. Komerční banka clients will pay to check their account balance on ATMs as of 1 November, the bank said on Wednesday.

>>> “I will not comment on the bark beetle in Šumava on principle,” said TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg at a Friday press conference that was to be dedicated to the bark beetle according to journalists, Lidové noviny reported on the weekend.

>>> The Prague Stock Exchange suffered the biggest tumble in the past three months on Tuesday. The state budget deficit climbed to CZK 90 billion in the first eight months of the year, although the planned deficit for the whole of 2009 was to be at CZK 38.3 billion. In their election programme, the Civic Democrats have suggested cutting the salaries of ministers and members of parliaments if the economy does not perform well in the future.

>>> Prague Airport suspended services to the Slovak low-cost carrier SkyEurope due to unpaid bills on Monday, a few hours before the carrier filed for bankruptcy. The historical Winton Train set out for London on Tuesday from Prague’s main station. The train was dispatched by the Senator Karel Schwarzenberg.

>>> Baker Stanislav Pecka, a well-known opponent of daylight-savings time, died on Monday at the age of 60. Chomutov Mayor Ivana Řápková received two death threats by e-mail on Friday and Sunday, following the seizure of property by city bailiffs last week. Ticks have killed two men this year. Twenty-three Czechs and Slovaks were hurt in a bus accident in Turkey on Tuesday. “Dear Deni, get well soon”, Klaus wrote on Friday to the 7-year-old boy whose three toes were cut off by an escalator in a Prague metro station two weeks ago.

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