Czech farmers will have to brace themselves for a severe drop in cereal harvests, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. With an expected 6 million tonnes of crops, this year's harvest would be 13 percent lower than last year's. The number of potatoes is to drop by 34.4 percent. The decrease in harvest is expected to result in an increase in prices in foodstuffs like baked goods and meat.
The US Embassy in Prague has launched a new section on its web site devoted to the American missile defense system and Washington's plans to build a base in Europe. The pages include basic information about the project, answers to frequently asked questions, and statements of US Ambassador to Prague William Cabaniss and other representatives of the administration of President George W. Bush. The webpage is in both Czech and in English.
The municipal court in Prague has ruled against a decision made by the country's broadcasting council to issue six licenses for digital television broadcasting. The court says the council's reasoning for approving or rejecting license applications has been obscure and contradictory. The case was taken to court by the country's biggest commercial station TV Nova, which protested against the rejection of a license for four of its projects.
Some 40,000 public transport users in the northern city of Usti nad
Labem will not be able to reach their destinations by bus this Thursday
and Friday. Trade union members of the region's transport authority and
its affiliated bus company CSAD Ceska Lipa have announced that they
will go on strike. Since the regional authority has not guaranteed that
it will remain in contract with the bus company beyond the end of this
year, CSAD employees fear they will soon be out of a job.
Last month, commuters in Usti nad Labem were stranded for four days as a bus company went on strike to demand compensation for a premature termination of contract.
New interior minister Ivan Langer has suggested that he will introduce steps to privatise the Czech Postal Service. Plans to transform the postal service into a joint-stock company and then privatise it had already been voiced by the ministry for information technology, which was dissolved by the new minority Civic Democrat cabinet that was appointed into office on Monday. Mr Langer says he supports the plan and intends to carry it out.
A new United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) state of world population
report for 2006 estimates the life expectancy of Czechs higher than
residents of other post-Communist Central European EU member states.
While a girl born in the Czech Republic today can expect to live on
average to 79, in Slovakia and Poland it is 78, and in Hungary 77
years. Compared to her counterpart in neighbouring Germany, though, she
is expected to live two years less.
The global female life expectancy at birth is 68.4. In Europe, it is estimated to be 78.3 years.
Domestic violence is the most widespread form of violence in the Czech Republic a police psychologist reported on Wednesday. According to the Bily Kruh Bezpeci victim support group, three in five domestic violence cases occur in middle and high class families. A recent opinion poll conducted by the STEM agency suggests that 23 percent of the population have experienced physical harassment and mental torture. A new law, which will come into effect in January, defines domestic violence as a criminal act and is expected to help reduce the number of cases significantly.
Eva Klimovicova, a close aide to the former health minister David Rath, is to be charged with corruption. Klimovicova is accused of taking bribes from pharmaceutical companies for whom she set up meetings with Mr. Rath when he was president of the Czech Medical Chamber. An employee of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer claims she asked for three million crowns in return for arranging such a meeting. Ms. Klimovicova counters that it was the Pfizer representative who offered her three million crowns in an attempt to frame her. If found guilty, she could get a sentence of up to five years.
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Janek Rubeš: The only question I get – and there are thousands of them – is, Can we come to Prague?