The Czech Foreign Ministry says it is prepared to send a team of Czech doctors to Libya and treat some victims of the civil war in Czech hospitals. Foreign Ministry spokesman Vít Kolár said on Friday that Prague had responded to a request for assistance and Czech diplomats in Libya were negotiating what form it should take. It appears most likely that a team of Czech doctors will fly to the north of the country to provide medical assistance and select those patients who would be flown to Czech hospitals for treatment.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg have ended a drawn-out dispute over EU competences, according to the internet website aktualne.cz. The dispute over who holds the EU agenda arose after Prime Minister Petr Nečas appointed a state secretary for EU affairs in the Office of the Government. The foreign minister promptly made an identical appointment at the foreign ministry. On Thursday the two officials signed an agreement on procedural matters in covering the EU agenda including who should represent the Czech Republic at various talks in Brussels.
The Czech army chief of staff General Vlastimil Picek on Friday awarded Czech soldiers who served in Afghanistan with achievement medals. Among them were twelve officers who trained Afghani police at the military base in Wardak province, 11 doctors from the Czech military hospital and five flight instructors who trained pilots at Kabul airport.
The Prague branch of the governing Civic Democrats is meeting on Friday ahead of the party’s weekend conference. The regional gathering is expected to test support for party leader Petr Nečas, debate planned changes to the party’s statutes and discuss budgetary issues. The weekend party conference of the Civic Democrats is not electoral, but is expected to be litmus test of support for party leader and Prime Minister Petr Nečas who took over the party reigns following the resignation of Mirek Topolánek in April of 2010. Mr. Nečas was confirmed in the post for a two-year period last year and a planned change of the party’s statutes should allow for his mandate to be extended.
The governing TOP 09 party is expected to elect a new leadership at its party conference over the weekend, though no surprises are expected. The party’s present leader Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and the party’s deputy Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek both have a firm position at the party’s helm and are expected to be confirmed in office. The conference is expected to discuss the party’s priorities and strategy in next year’s regional elections as well as officially approve Karel Schwarzenberg as the party’s nominee for president in the 2013 elections.
The government has earmarked 11.7 billion crowns in support of renewable energy sources in 2012. The price of electricity for households should grow by 4.3 percent on average, while companies should pay some 6.2 percent more in electricity bills next year. Most of the subsidies will go to support photovoltaic plants. Their operation will cost over 22 billion crowns. The total cost of all renewable sources should reach 32 billion. Without state subsidies the price of electricity would increase by 11 percent for households and 15 percent for large buyers.
Trade unions in the health sector have given health minister Leoš Heger until November 5th to deliver on his promise to raise doctors and nurses salaries in 2012. The head of the doctors’ trade unions Martin Engel told the CTK news agency that unless the minister made good on his promise there would be a renewal of this year’s protest actions and mass walkouts from hospitals around the country. In a memorandum signed this spring Minister Heger promised to increase doctors and nurses salaries by 10 percent in the coming year, but there in concern that due to across the board budget cuts in the state sector he might not keep his word.
Production of passenger cars in the Czech Republic rose by 11.4 percent to 895,728 units between January and September of this year, the Automotive Industry Association announced in a press release on Friday. The growth was pulled mainly by the Skoda Auto and Hyundai car makers. Skoda Auto raised output by 21.5 percent to 502,513 cars. Hyundai Motor Czech made 174,687 cars, which represents a similar growth. Car sales increased by 5 percent and exports were up nearly 11 percent.
Police in the town of Hradec Kralove on Friday arrested a paedophile suspect who had been harassing young children outside a local primary school. Officers are investigating thirteen cases of abuse and have asked parents whom it may concern to provide any relevant information. If convicted of sexual abuse of minors the man could face up to 8 years in jail.
Czech football champions Viktoria Plzeň lost 2:0 against football giants Barcelona on Wednesday in their third match in Group H in the Champions League. Iniesta put Barcelona up 1:0 within 10 minutes and Barca produced a hatful of opportunities, with Messi hitting the post on a free-kick seconds before halftime. Plzeň, newcomers to the Champions League, did well to keep Barca from getting a second goal until the final minutes, although they were unable to get a single shot on goal of their own in the match. Plzeň have only one point in three games from a draw with Bate Borisov, while Barca and AC Milan will head to the knock-out stage.