A minor earthquake measuring 2,5 points on the Richter scale was registered in the western part of the Czech Republic on Wednesday morning. People in the vicinity of Kraslice and Nový Kostel, near the Czech German border say the quake occurred at around 9.30 am and lasted for several seconds. No damages or injuries were reported. Experts say that more small tremors may follow. Small quakes are not unusual in the area. The last, measuring 3.3 points on the Richter sale was registered in 2008.
Tuesday’s train collision at the Praha-Liben railway station is being ascribed to human error. The police said on Wednesday that it had been confirmed without a doubt that the driver of the locomotive had ignored a red light. Seven people were injured in the accident in which a locomotive crashed into a passenger train drawing into the station. It is not yet clear why the driver ignored the warning light signal. The material damage has been estimated at 13 million crowns.
Overall confidence in the Czech economy dropped by 1.3 points in August as compared to the previous month, according to data published by the Czech Statistical Office. Confidence of entrepreneurs is down by a single point while that of consumers dropped by 2.7 points. Overall confidence in the industry decreased by 1.7 points month-on-month.
Over a half of Czechs would like President Václav Klaus to remain active in politics when his term in office expires in March of 2013. According to the results of a poll conducted by the Millward Brown agency 55 percent of respondents would like for Mr. Klaus to remain visible in Czech politics, 28 percent of respondents would like to see him run in direct presidential elections. Fifteen percent of respondents would like to see him return to the Civic Democratic Party which he founded in 1991. Mr. Klaus has indicated that he does not plan to withdraw from public life when his term in office expires.
Prague’s Žižkov district will name one of its streets after Olga Havlová, the deceased first wife of ex-president Vaclav Havel. The former first lady was extremely popular with the public and often proclaimed herself to be a Žižkov patriot, the district where she was born and grew up. Olga Havlová died of cancer in 1996.
The Czech Republic has welcomed the gains of the rebel forces fighting the Gaddafi regime but has not so far formally recognised the Libyan National Transitional Council as the only and legitimate representative of the Libyan people. A statement published by the Czech Foreign Ministry calls on Muammar Gaddafi to end the bloodshed and give himself up, opening the way to a new, democratic Libya. The Czech Republic has expressed readiness to share its know-how in the transition to democracy and the process of political and economic reform.
The Civic Democratic Party has urged its coalition partners not to put the
future of the government at risk. In a resolution passed on Tuesday morning
the party leadership indirectly criticized TOP 09 suggesting it was using
the scandal surrounding public official Ladislav Bátora to destabilize or
even bring down the coalition government. A spokesman for the Civic
Democratic Party said that if a coalition party wanted to walk out of the
governing coalition it should do so in a straightforward manner and not
hide behind a pretext such as the Bátora scandal.
TOP 09 has threatened to leave the government unless Ladislav Bátora, a controversial, high-placed official at the Education Ministry was sacked over insulting remarks he made about TOP 09 chairman and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. The two officials have traded insults in the media in recent weeks and Mr. Bátora’s boss, Education Minister Josef Dobeš of Public Affairs has refused to sack him saying his employee enjoyed the right to freedom of expression as much as anyone. Mr. Bátora, who in the past ran for the ultra-right National Party, has also come under fire for his criticism of the recent gay rights parade in the Czech capital.
The TOP 09 leadership which met to debate the crisis on Tuesday
has denied allegations that it has a hidden agenda in the matter. However
it insists on Batora’s dismissal before the government can become fully
functional again. At present TOP 09 ministers are boycotting government
sessions and sending their deputies in their place.
Meanwhile, Public Affairs maintains that in the light of Minister Dobeš’ apology to Minister Schwarzenberg it considers the matter closed.
The opposition Social Democratic Party has said it is ready to discuss early elections if the government is incapable of functioning properly. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said at a press conference on Tuesday that if TOP 09 ministers were not willing to do their duties then it would be better not to prolong the crisis and seek an effective solution. The party’s deputy Lubomir Zaoralek noted that the prime minister was clearly unwilling or unable to resolve the crisis and the situation in Czech politics was increasingly chaotic. The leading opposition party also attacked Education Minister Josef Dobes, saying both he and Batora should be dismissed.
A flash poll on the Batora scandal indicates that 57 percent of Czechs would support his dismissal from office. Forty-four percent of respondents moreover view him as a racist who should never have been appointed to the post. On the other hand, 30 percent of respondents are inclined to agree that the scandal surrounding him does not merit a government crisis of the present proportions and that the TOP 09 party is using it as a pretext to destabilize the government.