Special provisions introduced to combat bird flu in the Czech Republic have evidently been brought to an end after veterinarians abolished the last remaining protection zone at Poseč in the Karlovy Vary region, Czech Television reported on Tuesday. Since the start of the year vets have put down around 100,000 birds over fears of possible infection. Outbreaks of avian flu began in the Czech Republic almost five months ago.
The Brno Regional Court has banned Uber from offering taxi services in the city under the company’s present operating conditions. The court said Uber breached several provisions in the law governing the operation of taxis. The firm may not offer services if drivers don’t possess a permit and if their car is not marked as a taxi and does not feature the name of a company or taximeter. The ruling, which Uber may contest, followed a complaint from a taxi firm in the Moravian capital.
Czech Internet use climbed last year to 76.6 percent of those over 16 years old, according to the Czech Statistical Office. Regular users total 6.7 million but there are still around 1.6 million, mostly elderly, who say they have never used the Internet. Around 40 percent of young people aged less than 24 said they spend more than 20 hours a week on the Internet. Most Czechs, around two-thirds, connect via notebook with around half using computers and mobile phones. Connection via mobile phones, at 54 percent, is still below the European average of 65 percent.
Vets will on Thursday put down over 30,000 chickens and ducks at two poultry farms in Cheb, West Bohemia after the confirmation of cases of bird flu. It will be the biggest single extermination of poultry since the current wave of avian flu began. The outbreak is the third detected in the region and the 37th in the Czech Republic. To date almost 60,000 birds have been put down because of the disease.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will meet with the outgoing minister of industry and trade, Jan Mládek and deputy ministers on Wednesday, to take the reins at the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the interim. The prime minister’s move to sack Mr Mládek was welcomed last week by President Miloš Zeman. Mr Sobotka told journalists after the cabinet meeting on Monday that he had already received approval to head the ministry for the time being. He is expected to head the ministry for several weeks.
Industry and Trade Minister deputy Lubomír Bokštefl will be dismissed from his office along with minister Jan Mládek, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday in a political debate programme on Czech Television, adding that he wasn’t satisfied with his performance. Mr Sobotka criticized Mr Bokštefl for his comments in an online debate with readers of the news website Aktuálně.cz, when he told one person to “go to Poland” if they wanted Polish rates for mobile data. The Industry and Trade Minister was sacked last week over his failure to support the Czech government’s efforts to cut the excessively high bills Czechs pay for mobile phone services. He has been under fire in recent weeks among others for saying that mobile “roaming” services were for an elite class of people that make up 5 percent of the population. Following the dismissal, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s said he would temporarily take over the industry ministry portfolio until he found suitable replacement.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s decision to temporarily take over the industry ministry portfolio following the dismissal of Jan Mládek has sparked criticism from business leaders and economic experts. In a survey conducted by the ctk news agency they say the ministry needs an expert in the field not temporary management and express the hope that the post will soon be filled. The prime minister said on Thursday that he would propose a replacement for Mr. Mládek after the Social Democrat’s election conference in March. Jan Mládek was sacked for allegedly failing to support the government’s efforts to cut mobile data costs for Czechs.
After the sudden, if not totally surprising, announcement that long time Social Democrat stalwart Jan Mládek, would be dismissed as minister for industry and trade at the start of the week, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka was expected to follow through by announcing a replacement on Thursday night. Those expectations were confounded.
Czech veterinarians have confirmed the first outbreak of bird flu in the Pilsen region. A small poultry breeder from the village of Bohy has found 20 dead hens with tests later proving the presence of the H5 virus. Another outbreak has been reported from Dačice in South Bohemia. Overall, there are currently 32 cases of bird flu breaks in the country. While the H5 strain of bird flu is highly dangerous for birds, it has never caused illness in human beings.