Legislators in the lower house are to debate the new Civil Code in a third reading on Friday in a special meeting of the lower house called to sidestep obstructive efforts by the opposition. The bill, which covers 3,000 paragraphs making it the most extensive modification of Czech legislation in 50 years, deals with questions of private and family law, property issues, contract law and inheritance. Justice Minister Jiŕí Pospíšil has strongly backed the bill, saying the country needed a civil code for the “21st century”. But critics, such as members of the opposition Social Democrats, charge the legislation will largely create legal confusion.
Czech MPs on Friday passed a bill tightening conditions in public tenders in the aim of making them more transparent. The amendment derails tenders being tailor-made for firms chosen in advance and requires bidders to provide information about major sub-suppliers as well as shareholders. The bill was put forward by Lenka Andrýsová of Public Affairs, the upstart party now in government that succeeded in the last general election when it ran on an anti-corruption platform.
Education Minister Pavel Dobeš has confirmed that a school inspection team will visit an elementary school in Prague 13, after one of its teachers suggested during a recent TV broadcast that sex education there was being taught in an inappropriate manner. The school’s principal, Pavel Petrnoušek, is a contributor to an Education Ministry-recognised guidebook for teachers on how to teach sex education courses. The manual dates back to 2009. According to the teacher, Arjana Shameti, some students at the school complained to her about the sex ed. course – expressing embarrassment over some topics discussed or the methods used. Principal Pavel Petrnoušek has reacted by filing a lawsuit against the teacher, saying she had breached her contract and damaged the good name of the school. The incident has raised questions over how sex education is taught in Czech classrooms.
A new poll conducted by the Factum Invenio agency suggests that if the general election were held today, six parties would make it into the Chamber of Deputies. According to the survey, the opposition Social Democrats would win with 28.5 percent of the vote, while traditional right-wing rivals, the Civic Democrats, would finish with 19.2. The Communist Party would finish third – with 15.9 percent, followed by TOP 09 with 13.7. Two parties, not currently represented in the lower house would, the survey suggests, make it back in: the Christian Democrats (5.9 percent) and the Greens (5.4). By contrast, current coalition member Public Affairs would finish well below the five percent threshold required: just 2.2 percent.
Unemployment dropped to 6.6 percent year-on-year in the Czech Republic in the 3Q, leaving 346,000 jobless – almost 30,000 people fewer than the same period last year. In the long-term it is the lowest unemployment the country has seen since the second quarter of 2009, the Czech Statistical Office reported. The office measures the unemployment rate based on the methodology of the International Labour Organisation. By contrast, the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs uses a different system and ranks unemployment during the same period at around 8.1 percent.
The Senate on Friday awarded world-famous Czech scientist Antonín Holý an honorary medal for his contributions in scientific research and development. Mr Holý has spent a considerable part of his career in helping develop medicines to help patients with AIDS. The head of the Academy of Sciences Organic chemistry and biochemistry branch, Zdeněk Havlas, praised Professor Holý, saying he was an example of the dedication required in the sciences. Antonín Holý has received considerable recognition for his work including a nomination for the Nobel Prize for medicine.
Patrik Eliáš set up the tying goal in the third period and scored in the
penalty shootout in NHL action on Thursday to help his New Jersey Devils
down Philadelphia. The player was named the game’s 1st star. The final
score was 4:3 for the Devils.
In other action, goalie Ondřej Pavelec, who plays for the Winnipeg Jets, allowed no goals in his team’s win over the New York Islanders – his first shutout of the season. The final score was 3:0.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Thursday the Czech Republic should not distance itself from the eurozone’s debt crisis but pull its weight in helping to resolve the problem. Speaking at a conference of Czech foreign policy, Mr. Schwarzenberg said that this was a time for solidarity from all EU members, because all were in the same boat and a crisis in the eurozone would sooner or later affect everyone. The Czech Republic has taken a cautious stand to developments in the monetary alliance, and the ruling Civic Democrats have even thrown their weight behind the idea of holding a national referendum on euro adoption.
The Czech lower house approved the 2012 state budget in its first reading late Wednesday, nodding to its basic parameters: budget revenues, expenditures and deficit. The draft budget, pushed through by the votes of the centre-right coalition government of Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs, reckons with revenues of 1,085 billion crowns, expenditures of 1,190 billion and a 105 billion crown deficit, i.e. 3.2 percent of GDP. The draft budget, fiercely criticized by the opposition, will be now discussed by the lower house's committees. The house is to take a final vote on it in December.
The opposition has slammed the government for putting forward a draft budget based on unrealistic growth figures. The budget was tailored according to a June forecast predicting a 2.5 percent growth in 2012. That estimate has been revised sharply down to a 1 percent growth estimate at best. The ministry says it will revise the budget in January when it has a more accurate growth forecast for that year. The lower growth would cause the expected revenues to drop by around 18 billion crowns. The ministry is said to be working on several crisis scenarios, including one for recession.