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.
Czech footballer Libor Sionko has agreed a three-year contract with Glasgow Rangers, after leaving Austria Vienna on a free transfer. The former Sparta Prague player has 17 international caps; he is on standby for the Czech Republic's World Cup squad and may yet be called up if another player drops out.
The Education Ministry will be able to divide up to the equivalent of 110 billion crowns - or 4 billion euros (roughly 5 billion US dollars) - from EU funds mainly on development and research in 2007-13 according to Education Minister Petra Buzkova. Of the total more than 70 billion crowns is to be destined directly for science and research, and mainly for the development of institutions that do research applicable in practice. The position of Czech science is not as well off compared to other European states. The Czech Republic now supports research and development with about 1.3 percent of the GDP while the share is twice that on average in other advanced countries.
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 police have started investigating the circumstances surrounding the purchase of high speed Pendolino trains by Czech Railways on suspicion of breach of trust in property administration. No charges have been brought as yet. A recent audit revealed that the contracts signed with the Italian company Alstom were disadvantageous for Czech Railways and the company's management has requested a police investigation.
An election survey conducted by the STEM agency suggests that the ruling Social Democrats are catching up on their main rival - the opposition Civic Democratic Party, with a mere 1,5 percent difference in their public support rating. The gap was 5,5 percent in April. If elections were held today the centre-right Civic Democrats would get 26,7 percent of the vote, the Social Democrats 25,2 percent. The Communists would come third with 13 percent, followed by the Greens with 7,1 and the Christian Democrats with 5.4 percent. No other party would cross the five percent margin needed to get seats in Parliament.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has slammed President Klaus for saying that the Czech Republic no longer had any advantages from EU membership. The prime minister said the Czech president's views on the EU were erroneous and many European politicians considered them dangerous. Speaking at a seminar at Prague's Charles University on Monday, President Klaus said the Czech Republic had "consumed" most of the advantages of EU membership before joining the EU and that in the last two years related expenditures had outweighed the benefits. He criticized Brussels for excessive centralization and bureaucracy. The prime minister said the president was ignoring statistical data which clearly showed the benefits of EU membership.