Jordan’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Tarawneh has said that the United Nations needs to play a far greater role and needs to exert more pressure on the government of Syria if it is to help end continuing violence and armed conflict in the Middle Eastern state. Mr Al-Tarawneh, whose country borders Syria, made the statement on an official visit to the Czech Republic on Monday, where he met with Czech counterpart Petr Nečas. Violence in Syria has continued since January 2011. Peace envoy Kofi Annan is due to arrive in Russia where he will appeal to Moscow to put more pressure on Syria's leadership to begin political transition to end the conflict. Russia has strong ties with Syria and has, for example, vetoed calls for foreign intervention.
The Czech Export Bank provided 8.2 billion crowns, the equivalent of nearly 400 million US dollars, in unjustified loans, according to a review released on Monday by the country’s supreme audit authority. The auditors found that around half of that sum was in fact provided in breach of Czech law, while more than 13 percent of the 143 billion crowns the bank gave out between 2005 and 2011 to support Czech exporters was sent to only two companies. One of the recipients paid over 40 percent of the sum to an off-shore firm which, the auditors said, cast serious doubt over whether the move can be considered support of Czech exports. Some of the loans were also given without being reviewed by the bank’s supervisory board, the report said.
Even after one week, problems are continuing to plague the Transport Ministry’s electronic vehicle registration system, news website idnes writes. According to the daily, software was updated over the weekend but not all wrinkles have been ironed out by far. Originally, the ministry promised the system would resume properly within a matter of days. Complications have prevented car owners from registering or deregistering their vehicles. In places on Monday, officials said the system was running but far from optimal, leading - for example - to long waiting periods. A crisis team at the ministry is meeting on Monday to discuss how to proceed next.
Experts are expected to conduct additional tests on Prague’s Evropská Street, a section of which caved in recently creating a roughly five-metre deep crater. Frantíšek Polák, a spokesman for Metrostav (the firm overseeing tunneling below the avenue to extend the metro line) said the tests were intended to uncover other potential weak spots. Until now, some 200 metres of road had already been tested. Evropská Street had to be closed to traffic for several days after the cave-in, as workers poured concrete in the collapsed section. In past years, Metrostav suffered three cave-ins in connection not with the subway but in the construction of Blanka tunnel, also in the capital.
Police in Mostar in Bosina and Hercegovina have told Croatian daily
Slobodna Dalmacija they believe a young man who drowned after jumping from
Mostar’s famous Stari most or Old Bridge was a Czech national from the
city of Brno. The tragedy took place on Sunday; a police search of the
river has not uncovered a body yet. A friend of the victim reportedly
jumped first and emerged from Neretva River unharmed. The Czech consul to
Bosnia and Hercegovina, Jana Stará, said that by all appearances the
drowned man in Mostar was Czech, but said she could not yet confirm it 100
At the weekend, another Czech national drowned in Vienna, also following a jump from a local bridge.
Czech police have shelved a case in Břeclav, South Moravia, in which a local teenager (who suffered serious injury in a fall) claimed he had been beaten up by Romanies. The boy, who fell off a landing and lost a kidney, admitted to police later that he had made up the story for fear he would be punished at home. The case file will now head to the state prosecutor’s office, where it will be decided whether the minor will himself face legal action. The boy’s original story fuelled marked anti-Roma sentiment in the town and led to hundreds of locals demonstrating in the streets. The mother later apologised for her son’s actions; she also returned funds that had been donated to help the injured boy.
A Czech military plane on Monday will transport four Przewalski mares to Mongolia for reintroduction into the wild, part of Prague Zoo’s ongoing Return of Wild Horses programme. Last year, three mares and one stallion were sent. Przewalski’s horse, also known as the Dzungarian horse, is a rare and endangered subspecies native specifically to Mongolia. According to the Prague Zoo, which played a major role in saving the horse in the 20th century, there were 1,860 Przewalski horses around the world at the end of 2005. Of those, fewer than 300 still lived in the wild in Mongolian or Chinese nature reserves.
Czech scientists have participated in the sequencing of the banana genome in which researchers from seven countries took part and that will help comprehend the development of the fruit plant and it’s grafting, the press department of the Czech Science Academy reported. The Czech scientists are Jaroslav Doležel and Eva Hřibová, from the CAV Experimental Botany Institute and the Hana Regional Centre for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, the Czech news agency reported. The results of the research have been published by the international scientific journal Nature. Mr Doležel’s lab has – according to the CAV – become an internationally acknowledged workplace into grain and banana genome research.
Ústí nad Labem’s regional court on Monday, in an appeal, sentenced former Civic Democrat senator Alexandr Novák, convicted earlier of bribery, to four years in prison. In the original proceedings, the defendant received only a two-year suspended sentence. The case, in which Mr Novak accepted a bribe of 40 million crowns, dates back to 1999, when Chomůtov town hall sold shares of the Severočeská energetika and Severočeská plynarenská energy and gas companies to a German firm. On Monday, the court upheld a five-year ban excluding Mr Novák from public office and a five-million crown fine.
Prague’s City Hall is planning on raising rents in city-owned apartments, with prices depending on their current condition (or technical state), Czech Radio’s Regina reports. According to the station, apartment buildings with elevators, for example, or flats offering better views from their windows, could soon cost tenants more.