The Czech Environmental Inspection office has decided to fine the chemicals maker Draslovka 2 million crowns for a leak of hazardous cyanides into the Elbe River in January. The firm will pay 1.9 million crowns (86,000 dollars) for illegal release of dangerous material and 100,000 crowns for failing to announce a warning in time. Company representatives said they respected the decision, adding that the firm wanted to invest 30 million crowns in special preventative and corrective measures this year. In January a cyanide leak from Draslovka killed some 10 tonnes of fish in an 83-kilometre stretch of the Elbe. Neighbouring Germany complained at the time that it had received the information about the accident too late.
The Czech power utility CEZ said on Monday that Western European power companies, faced with a shortage of skilled technicians and amid expectations of a nuclear power renaissance, are headhunting Czech nuclear power experts. A CEZ spokesman said that many western European countries had run down their nuclear industries and now lacked the necessary experts. The head of the Czech Nuclear Society, Vaclav Hanus, said that some new graduates in nuclear subjects had already taken up offers in Britain. He said British companies were prepared to offer 10,000 pounds (18,400 dollars) as a welcome bonus to new recruits. CEZ, which operates two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, says it sees the situation as a threat.
Prague's City Court has adjourned the trial of two elderly men in connection with a murder case dating back to 1957. The two men, Milan Michel and Stanislav Tomes, both former agents of the communist-era intelligence service, are accused of sending a letter bomb to a senior French politician, which killed his wife by mistake. The case was adjourned on Monday due to the two men's age and ill health. The legal proceedings were launched in 2001 after five years of investigation by the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. The two men face up to 15 years in prison, but because of their age and poor health, they are unlikely to serve sentences even if they are eventually convicted.
The Czech Environmental Inspection has said it intends to fine German companies as well as Czech ones for illegal imports of waste into the Czech Republic. According to the inspection, the German companies failed to make sure their Czech partners were authorised to deal with waste. Altogether 15,000 tonnes of waste has been brought to the Czech Republic. The Environmental Inspection is dealing with 16 illegal dumps, including six or seven from which the waste has not yet been removed. Following an agreement with the Czech Environment Ministry, the German side has removed the waste from most of the sites.
The Czech Republic has beaten the United States 3:0 in a crucial World Cup Group E match. Jan Koller opened the scoring in the fifth minute, nodding home a right wing cross from Zdenek Grygera that eluded two US defenders. Tomas Rosicky gave the Czechs a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute, blasting a right-footed 25-metre shot past Keller who dived to his left in a vain attempt to deny the midfielder. Rosicky scored a third goal in the 76th minute.
The Independents political movement has lodged a complaint with the
Supreme Administrative Court questioning the validity of the June 2-3
elections, the Independents' election leader Jana Hamplova said on Monday.
She said that the Independents want the court to rule that the mandates of
200 deputies elected over a week ago are invalid. The Independents argue
that the public service Czech Television only provided space in its
pre-election discussion programmes to five political parties that later
emerged successful from the election and therefore created the impression
that there were only five electable parties on the Czech political scene.
According to the Supreme Administrative Court, it is the 26th complaint regarding the elections it has received, but it is the first complaint filed by a political party or movement.
At a meeting over the weekend, the Green Party gave its leader, Martin
Bursik, and his negotiating team a clear mandate to take part in
coalition-building talks with all parties except the Communists. Mr.
Bursik says that negotiations with the winning party, the Civic
Democrats, and the Christian Democrats currently take precedent over
discussions with the Social Democratic Party.
The Green Party stands by its campaign promise not to support any government that would be dependent on the backing of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.
The Greens earned six percent of the vote in recent elections, and have a mandate of six seats in the lower house—their first-ever presence in high-level Czech politics. Mr. Bursik has not revealed which—if any—ministry posts may be desirable for the Greens in a coalition arrangement, though analysts say that the Ministry of the Environment is of logical key interest for the Greens.
Three Green Party members were also expelled over the weekend for their leadership of the so-called 'Leftist faction' that emerged just prior to the elections, causing an internal conflict within the party. Eva Holubova, Karel Volny and Vaclav Drbohlav were voted out of the Green Party.
The Home Credit and Finance Bank of Russia, which is controlled by the Czech financial group PPF, reports a decrease in profits for 2005. Compared to 2004 when the bank saw a profit of 338 million crowns ($15.1 million USD), 2005 figures rest at about 256 million crowns ($11.5 million USD). The Home Credit and Finance Bank ranks second on the Russian market, and opened 31 new branches throughout the Russian Federation in 2005.
In a Sunday televised program on T.V. NOVA, the leader of the Civic
Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, revealed that his party has its own
candidate in mind to administer the Chamber of Deputies. If the Civic
Democrats are successful then their current party deputy leader,
Miroslava Nemcova, could be nominated for Chairwoman of the lower house
when MPs convene to vote on June 27th. Mr. Topolanek sees Miroslava
Nemcova as a fine candidate because according to him, she has the
experience to lead the lower house, as well as the qualities required
to do the job well. Ms. Nemcova was the deputy leader of the lower
house during the last Social Democratic-led government.
The Civic Democrats are taking the position that the Chair's post in the lower house need not automatically fall to the second-place Social Democrats, and that they as the winning party intend to occupy the chair of the lower house. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party has spoken publicly about the possibility of Jiri Paroubek running for the chairmanship of the lower house. The Social Democrats feel that they should hold the post, given their second-place yet still strong showing in the recent elections.
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