A Czech government delegation has left for South Korea to sign a contract with Hyundai on the construction of the company's new car plant in Nosovice, Moravia in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. The signing ceremony is expected to go ahead despite reports that Hyundai may have to put off the start of construction work due to an investigation into corruption allegations against senior representatives of the company. But, Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban, who heads the delegation, has said that Hyundai officials have assured him that construction work will start on schedule.
A number of regions in the Czech Republic will be the first to move from analogue to digital broadcasting next year. But, analogue broadcasts in the area will only be fully cut following an extensive information campaign. According to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Information Technology, analogue broadcasting throughout the Czech Republic should wrap up by 2010 - although the final date set by the European Union is 2012. The ministry has not revealed which regions will be the first affected. The Czech Telecommunications Office will take a decision on the matter later this year.
The Czech Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy, Jiri Havel, has welcomed the European Parliament's passing the EU budget for 2007 - 2013 on Wednesday, allowing new EU member states, including the Czech Republic, to draw more money from the EU coffers. He said it was a "significant impulse" for the Czech economy. Most Czech Euro MPs supported the budget in the vote, which passed with overall support of 440 to 190, with 14 abstaining. The seven-year budget amounts to 864.3 billion euros, plus an additional 2 billion euros, 1.05 percent of the union's GDP.
The Czech Republic's national football squad will head to next month's World Cup in Germany in 2nd place in FIFA rankings - behind leaders Brazil and just ahead of 3rd place the Netherlands. The rankings system takes into account not only squad results but also match importance, goals scored and a number of other factors. Despite the Czechs' high ranking this year's World Cup will be the first they have taken part in since 1990. The Czechs have fared well on the European level: at Euro 1996 and 2004, coming in silver and bronze, respectively.
The former rector of Prague's Charles University, Ivan Wilhelm, has
been appointed the new government commissioner for European research.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. As
commissioner, it will be Mr Wilhelm's task to coordinate research
activities and oversee their inclusion in EU projects. He will also
cooperate, for example, on proposals like Europroject Terezin - aimed
at seeing Terezin become home to a centre on Holocaust Studies,
involving cooperation by other European universities.
The new commissioner is to take up his post at the beginning of June.
Damages from floods earlier this year have been assessed at 300 million crowns - the equivalent of around 13 million US dollars - in the agriculture and forestry sectors. According to the Agriculture Ministry floods in late March and early April damaged thousands of hectares of fertile land, damaging a number of crops. Wheat, barley crops were among the hardest hit, as well as some orchards. Fish farms also suffered some 51 million crowns in damages.
The cabinet has approved a 1.4 million crown (64,000 US dollars) subsidy for NATO's training mission in Iraq - the Czech Republic also provided a subsidy for the mission last year. At its summit in Istanbul two years ago NATO chose to establish a military training academy near Baghdad: Germany, the Netherlands and the US are the main contributors. Five Czech military instructors are part of that mission, while the largest part of the Czech contingent operates on the British base Shaiba in northern Iraq. About 100 Czech military policemen train local officers there.
Ice hockey goaltender Milan Hnilicka did not take part in a practice session on Wednesday following a back muscle pull during a qualifying match against the United States at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Riga. Despite losing 3:1 on Tuesday the Czechs qualified for the knock-out round. They next face Russia. Hnilicka has said that he hopes to be ready for the game which takes place on Thursday. If not, the post in goal will be taken by back-up Adam Svoboda.
The Czech power utility CEZ has signed a contract with Russia's TVEL, after the corporation was chosen following a year-long international tender. From 2010 to 2020 TVEL will supply some 400 tonnes of fuel for two reactors at South Bohemia's Temelin nuclear power plant. The current supplier is Westinghouse. The contract awarded this week is worth an estimated several billion Czech crowns.
The results of an opinion poll just out indicate that half of all Czechs would be in favour of legalizing euthanasia. Thirty percent of respondents were strictly against it, the remaining twenty percent said they did not have a firm view on the matter. Under present legislation euthanasia amounts to murder and only one party - the Freedom Union - is in favour of its legalization. The Christian Democrats, Communists and the Green Party are strictly against it. The Social Democrats and the Civic Democratic Party are divided over the matter. A single previous attempt to get it legalized was blocked by the Senate.