Under a new plan approved by the government Czech industries will be allowed a margin of air pollution emissions of up to almost 108 million tonnes per year as of January 1. Companies will receive permits, which are transferable in all 25 EU member countries, with the European Commission checking on the number of permits issued and monitoring the overall system. By the end of each year firms will be required to provide a total for the amount of pollutants actually released. The Environment Ministry demanded on Monday that permits for only up to 100 million tonnes be issued; as a result a hearing will now be held in Brussels to explain the compromise.
The Czech new agency CTK has reported that the senior government Social Democrats are planning to use banners on popular internet portals and large print advertisements as part of their election campaign before November's regional and Senate elections. The party has already launched a massive billboard campaign coupled with huge concerts to take place in 14 cities with major Czech pop stars. The party says that the total cost of the campaign will be 30 million crowns (1 million euros) but has been reluctant to answer questions on the fees being paid out to the pop stars for their performances.
The American company Boeing has decided to give up its share in the aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody for a symbolic amount of 2 crowns to the Czech state. The move proposed by the Finance Ministry was approved by the government on Wednesday. Both sides had been holding talks on a settlement since last winter and the contracts were completed only several weeks ago. Boeing first entered Aero in 1998 with a promise to help it enter foreign markets. However, it failed to keep the promise and the Czech government decided in February that the strategic partnership with Boeing would be terminated.
The Czech-born supermodel Eva Herzigova unveiled her first clothing collection in Paris on Tuesday, joining the growing ranks of celebrities seeking to parlay their famous names into fashion brands. The blonde supermodel, who made her name with sexy advertising campaigns for Wonderbra and Guess jeans, launched her label with a swimwear line a year ago.
The government's human rights commissioner Jan Jarab has resigned from his post. Mr. Jarab confirmed that he had sent a letter of resignation to the Prime Minister but refused to discuss his decision, until he has the Prime Minister's response. Mr. Jarab is said to have received an offer to join the team of the Czech EU commissioner for labour and social affairs Vladimir Spidla. Asked about his future plans, Mr. Jarab said he would apply his experience to the same sphere - helping socially weak and discriminated groups of the population.
The Czech village of Horni Benesov has decided to award US Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry honorary citizenship as his ancestors hailed from the small mountain village. Kerry's great grandparents, Benedikt and Matilda Kohn and his grandfather Fritz Kohn lived in Horni Benesov before emigrating to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. "We are proud to have such a connection with a US presidential candidate and we want to show that someone whose ancestors came from a small mountain village can go on to achieve great things" the town's mayor said.
During talks with EC and European Parliament officials in Brussels, Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross expressed support for further EU integration. He said that the Continent would benefit from a unification of the criminal code and judiciary and spoke in favour of further EU expansion on the condition that it did not violate the integrity of the union. Asked whether his country would welcome the idea of holding a national referendum on Turkey's accession to the EU, Mr. Gross said he thought Ankara should be given the same conditions for entry as other EU members. To do otherwise would be unfair, the Czech Prime Minister noted.
Fifty Chinese illegal immigrants were discovered in the back of a truck at a Czech-German border crossing on Tuesday. A border police spokeswoman said the immigrants, who possessed no documents, would probably be taken to a Czech asylum centre. The lorry driver is being questioned. Last month Czech and Slovak border police detained a group of 80 Chinese illegal immigrants some of whom later admitted to having been part of a 500 member group that allegedly split up in Moscow to try to reach Germany, France and Italy illegally.
A new bill on prostitution currently under preparation in the Czech
Republic will require the country to back out of an international
agreement signed in 1958, aimed at fighting the trafficking of women.
By signing the International Convention Against Trafficking in Women
then-Czechoslovakia agreed not to pass future legislation supervising
prostitutes, something the new bill has proposed in order to regulate
legal age of prostitutes and their frequency of medical checks.
The government, which gave the go-ahead for the bill in April, is set to discuss the Czech Republic's repealing its commitment to the international treaty on Wednesday.
J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has topped a survey in the country titled "My Favourite Book" which ran in Czech libraries from March this year. Over 4,000 readers listed the Harry Potter books as their favourite, followed by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in second place, and the Bible, in third. The top ten featured just one book by a Czech author, Saturnin, by Zdenek Jirotka. In all 93,000 Czech readers took part in the book survey, among them both children and adults.