Academy of Sciences plans protest
Scientists are organising a demonstration called the “murder of Czech science” today to protest the cabinet’s plan to cut down the budget for the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (AVČR). The protest will take place today at 12:00pm in front of the AVČR art history department and should serve as a warning pointing out that budget cuts would mean closing down the academy. Martin Krummholz from the art history department said the cuts would affect the independence of universities.
E15 4, HN 5
Govt: Right-wing extremism behind Roma exodus
The government yesterday voiced its agreement with an analysis of the situation of Czech Roma submitted by Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb one week after Canada’s reintroduction of visa requirements for Czechs. In the analysis, Kocáb says the growing activities of right-wing extremists and the growing sympathies of the majority of the Czech population with these groups are the main reasons behind the Roma exodus to Canada.
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Health Minister to visit regions to discuss swine flu
Health Minister Dana Jurásková will meet with regional representatives in the upcoming days to discuss the current measures against the swine flu pandemic. The cabinet decided to buy pandemic vaccines for 25% of Czech citizens and on increasing the supply of antiflu medicine by another half a million to 2.5 million. The state currently has Tamiflu for 20% of the population. Another 5% of Relenza should be bought for some CZK 138 million this year and further CZK 236 million next year.
ČTK, MfD A5, Právo 1, 4
HN: ODS deputies earn money as company board members
ODS deputy Jan Bürgermeister last year earned CZK 460,000 (before taxes) for sitting on the board of the Czech Airlines, which is against the conflict of interests law. Bürgermeister claims that he is representing “only Prague” and therefore is entitled to the money. Another ODS deputy, Daniel Rovan, agreed with Czech Post last week to return within the next six months the CZK 220,000 that he earned for being a member of the firm’s board of directors.
iHNed.cz, HN 1, 4
Poll: Half of Czechs against foreign missions in Afghanistan
Some 50% of Czechs are against the participation of Czech military missions in Afghanistan, while another half supports them, according to the latest survey by Factum Invenio for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Czechs believe foreign missions should target humanitarian and rescue tasks and help with building and road repairs.
Ústí nad Labem region reports CZK 574m in flood damage
Damages caused by heavy rains and flooding in the Ústí nad Labem region at the beginning of July reached CZK 574 million, including more than CZK 287 million worth of damages to municipal property and CZK 130 million to citizens’ property. One woman has reportedly died.
Kocáb wants to re-open Roma sterilisation issue
Human Rights and Minorities Minister Michael Kocáb yesterday brought to the attention of the cabinet cases of involuntary sterilisations of Romani women. Kocáb asked the cabinet to re-open the issue of illegal sterilisation in his report on the state of Romani community published yesterday. In 2004 the European Roma Rights Centre expressed its suspicion of Roma sterilisations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and, above all, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The latest case of involuntary sterilisation in ČR was recorded in 2007.
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Criminal liability age likely to remain at 15 years
The Senate Committee on Legal and Institutional Affairs recommended to the Senate to vote next week on keeping the criminal liability age at 15 years and thus cancel the parts of the new Criminal Code that aim to lower criminal liability to 14 years.
Student Agency bus crashed, four heavily injured
A Student Agency bus going from Karlovy Vary to Prague crashed yesterday with more than 40 passengers on board, while taking a detour near Lubenec in the Louny area. Four people suffered heavy injuries.
MfD A5, Právo 1
Revolving theatre battle continues
The Czech Republic has until the end of 2016 to remove the revolving theatre from the Český Krumlov castle gardens based on an agreement with UNESCO. Preservationists suggested the theatre be removed to the grounds of a former gardening store in the immediate vicinity of the gardens, but the Culture Ministry rejected the proposal for legal reasons.
Govt passes regional development bill
The cabinet on Monday passed the Regional Development Ministry’s zoning plan that sets conditions for the construction of nuclear power plants, transportation projects and other strategic projects. The document makes it possible for successive cabinets to decide on some controversial projects that are currently under discussion. Municipalities and NGOs are concerned that the document would enable the construction of several controversial projects, such as the D3 motorway.
Steelworks to lay off some 500
The steel company ArcelorMittal Ostrava is planning to reduce its staff of 6,600 by 300 in the next few months. The company has already laid off nearly 1,000 workers in response to the economic crisis. Evraz Vítkovice Steel announced yesterday it plans to lay off some 170 workers. Steelworks are seeing a drop in demand, especially in commissions in construction and the automobile industry.
ČTK, HN 1, 13, MfD B3
Flat prices continue falling
The prices of flats have continued falling for the second consecutive quarter of this year by an average of 5.5% according to the Czech Statistical Office. Flat prices are still on average 55.7% higher than in 2005. A study published by the University of Economics claims regulated rent also influences flat prices as it forces people to buy rather than rent because there are fewer rentals on the market.
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Janota asked ÚOHS to comment on state bond sales
Finance Minister Eduard Janota asked the antimonopoly office (ÚOHS) to comment on whether the current proposal for the sale of state bonds to small clients through the Prague Securities Centre is legal. Janota said he is not worried about the ÚOHS statement but that he would like to prevent potential complications with banks, which will not be included in the bond sales later on. The first issues should be sold in November at the latest.
Senate committees reject free emission credits amendment
Two senate committees have already rejected the lower chamber amendment enabling energy companies, including the state-owned ČEZ, to get free carbon emission credits after 2013. Critics point out that the conditions of the amendment can only be met by ČEZ. Senators will vote on the amendment on Saturday. If rejected, the amendment will return to the chamber of deputies.
Tomi Tour insurance should cover debts
Tomi Tour financial director Václav Fischer claims the company went bankrupt due to lack of cash, banks’ unwillingness to grant loans and hotels’ requirements of advance payments. Police and the Slovak insurance company Union plan to investigate the company’s finances. Tomio Okamura from the association of Czech travel agents (AČCKA) claims the insurance should cover all the debts, and clients are likely to get 100% of their money back. Some travel agents are offering special discounts for Tomi Tour clients.
MfD A1, B1, Právo 2
Czech electricity prices among highest increases in EU
Household electricity prices in the second half of last year grew by 22.2% compared to the same period in 2007. This is the fifth highest increase in the EU. Malta experienced the greatest electricity price growth, with a 55% year-on-year increase, followed by Latvia (38% increase) and Cyprus (30% increase).
ČOI: Controls uncover flaws in EU presidency-related services
The Czech Retail Inspection (ČOI) uncovered flaws in 224 out of 490 controls focused on the sale of goods and services in connection with the Czech EU presidency. In 135 cases, ČOI has launched administrative proceedings.
Govt to subsidise milk in schools
As of 2010, the state will reintroduce subsidies for milk products in schools. CZK 60 million will be provided by the state, CZK 20 million by the EU.
LN 1, 14, MfD B3
Crystalex Nový Bor has 16 potential buyers
Some 16 Czech and foreign companies have shown interest in acquiring the bankrupt Crystalex Nový Bor glassworks. Yesterday was the last day for bidders to enter the tender, and now they have until 14 August to submit a concrete financial offer.