A spokeswoman has revealed that the government agency CzechInvest mediated 70 new domestic and foreign investment projects in the first half of 2005 worth almost 25 billion crowns, or the equivalent of almost 1 billion dollars US. The investments are expected to create up to 8,000 new jobs in coming years. CzechInvest says the number of projects is ten higher than a year ago although the volume of investments has remained the same. Roughly a third of investors are heading for northern Bohemia, a region with the highest unemployment in the Czech Republic. The major investors include Germany, the US, the Czech Republic, and Great Britain. Major areas for investments are the auto industry, electronics, engineering, and chemicals and plastics.
Two helicopters, the Croatian coastguard, as well as a number of
volunteers have been searching for a Czech tourist who went missing on
Sunday off the Croatian coast, near the island of Brac. The young
tourist was reportedly swimming with an inflatable mattress when he was
pushed out into the Adriatic by 100 kilometre winds. So far authorities
have searched an area of approximately sixteen square kilometres but
have been unable to find any sign of the swimmer.
The incident is similar to other developments on Sunday when, for example, a group of four Czech tourists was also swept out on an inflatable mattress and raft - but was rescued.
Justice Minister Pavel Nemec has asked the Chief State Prosecutor to prepare a comprehensive analysis on legal issues surrounding the long-term detention of suspects on the grounds that, if allowed out on bail, they could influence witnesses. The Justice Minister's request followed a Constitutional Court ruling that led to the release on Friday of Bohumil Kulinsky, the Bambini di Praga choirmaster charged with sexually abusing some 50 underage girls under his tutelage. Mr Kulinsky had been held in prison for over six months while awaiting trial. A justice ministry spokesman said that Nemec believes that the option of pre-trial detention has been abused by prosecutors. The Justice Minister wants to know the number of people placed into custody over the past 5 to 10 years and the reason for their pre-trial detention, said the spokesman.
The main opposition Civic Democratic Party, meanwhile, continues to dominate the political scene in the Czech Republic, according to a new poll by Factum. Nearly 34 percent of respondents said they would vote the Civic Democrat ticket in the next general parliamentary election. The poll shows, however, that the governing Social Democratic Party has gained back favour following the resignation of party chairman Stanislav Gross as prime minister this spring. The Social Democrats now poll at 23 percent, with the new prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, widely seen as a competent leader. Polling at just above 19 percent, the main Communist party remains a strong third, followed by the junior coalition Christian Democratic Party at some 11 percent.
Two Czech football teams scored victories in the second round UEFA Intertoto Cup action this weekend: Slovan Liberec dispatched Beitar Jerusalem 5-1, thanks to goals from Filip Holosko, Tomas Zapotocny, Libor Dosek and a double from Miroslav Slepicka. Another Czech team, Sigma Olomouc beat Pogon Sczecin of Poland 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Peter Babnic. The team from Zlin, however, lost 1-0 to the Belgian club Ghent. The UEFA Intertoto Cup is a between-seasons competition for clubs ranked directly below those that qualify for the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup. The top three teams go on to take part in the UEFA Cup.
The Justice Ministry has said that it will not consider a demand for compensation by two men prosecuted but not convicted for allegedly bribing a member of parliament last year. The two men--one an assistant to Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek, and the other a lobbyist with close ties to the centre-right party--were released due to a lack of evidence. The state's case against the two men, Marek Dalik and Jan Vecerek, has been suspended but left open in case new witnesses step forward. In addition to seeking compensation, they want the case permanently closed. The Freedom Union MP who made the accusation, Zdenek Koristka, has maintained that Dalik and Vecerek, acting on behalf of the Civic Democrat leader, last year offered him several hundred thousand euros and a diplomatic posting in Bulgaria to vote against the government in a confidence motion.
The Czech Republic has opened a temporary consulate in the Bulgarian beach resort city of Bourgas, a popular destination for Czech holidaymakers now for decades. The consulate, housed in a local hotel, will operate until the end of peak summer holidays, on August 31. The Czech consulate will cooperate with tour operators to help Czech tourists deal with Bulgarian authorities in emergency situations.
Several Social Democrat deputies serving on Parliament's defence committee are pushing for the Czech army's 1 billion dollar tender for the purchase of armoured personnel carriers—now underway—to be revised. The tender, agreed by the Cabinet in April, is the largest in the army's history. Social Democrat MPs Radek Turek and Antonin Seda are among those calling for the share of domestic Czech participation in any contract to be 40 percent or higher. The current tender sets that minimum at 25 percent. Formal bids to outfit the army with some 230 NATO-standard compatible armoured personnel carriers are now due at the Ministry of Defence by mid-July. But industry analysts say the deadline will need to be extended by a month or more, if the ruling Social Democrats succeed in changing the tender's conditions.
Two separate accidents along the main highway from the northern Bohemian city of Liberec to the Czech capital, Prague, tied up traffic for hours on Saturday. Several people received minor injuries in both accidents, which together involved a dozen cars. The accidents also caused complications for the organisers of the Skoda Auto "Ralleye Bohemia", an annual racing event in and around the city of Mlada Boleslav, home to the Skoda carmaker. Later in the day, a car competiting in the race crossed over a barrier and struck three spectators.
The English football club Fulham has confirmed it is looking to sign Sparta Prague striker Tomas Jun, the leading scorer in the Czech top-flight last season. The 22-year-old Czech international is believed to be valued at £2.7million. A representative for Jun told Sky Sports that discussions were still underway, with no official bid yet on the table.