The Czech Republic should in the future increasingly rely on nuclear power
while phasing out coal power plants, according to an updated blueprint for
the country’s energy strategy unveiled on Monday by the minister of
industry and trade. The share of nuclear power should increase from the
current 16 percent to between 30 and 35 percent by the year 2040. Minister
Martin Kuba told reporters that the state should also halt massive
subsidies for renewable sources of energy.
Environmental groups criticized the plan and said the country has a much greater potential of using renewable energy sources than assumed by the government. The blueprint will be now reviewed by the various government branches before it is discussed by the cabinet at the end of August.
The police will charge the mayor of Přerov, Social Democrat Senator Jiří Lajtoch, along with three council members and two council employees with corruption, a spokesman for the anti-corruption unit of the Czech police said on Tuesday. In 2008, the men allegedly overpriced two public procurement projects. The police were originally going to charge 13 people in the case but the prosecutor dropped the charges against seven of them.
The USAID agency ranked the Czech Republic third among post-communist nations in the sustainability of the civil society sector for 2011. In its annual report, the US Agency for International Development said the Czech NGO sector scored above average in the fields of advocacy and public image but low in financial viability which was affected by the ongoing economy crises. Oldřich Haičman, the head of Charity Czech Republic, the largest Czech NGO, said the survey reflected the reality as many NGOs have been hit by the financial crunch.
Respected Czech artist and composer Vladimír Franz on Monday expressed interest in running in direct presidential elections next year provided he gets 50,000 signatures required. Mr Franz posted a short video clip online discussing his views on the role of the head of state as a moral guarantor and someone who could represent the Czech Republic in a dignified manner in organisations like NATO. Vladimír Franz, recognisable to many Czechs because of his extensive bodily and facial tattoos, has become the 14th person interested in running for the office of the president in next year’s election.
Czech NGO IQ Roma Servis on Tuesday announced the start of a new campaign aimed at fighting prejudices against Romanies. The campaign lampoons some of the anti-Romany stereotypes rooted in the Czech society, and cleverly plays with the fact that Czechs might perceive some words differently in a Romany-related context. The campaign which also targets Czech employers, will be launched on Wednesday.
Czech households’ debt with banks and financial institutions rose by 4.2 billion crowns in June compared to the previous month, and reached one trillion and 133 billion crowns, or over 55 billion US dollars, according to the latest figures by the Czech National Bank released on Tuesday. The debt increased by 53 billion crowns year-on-year. The bulk of the debt consists of relatively safe housing credits and loans. Analysts say that compared with western European countries, the debt levels in the Czech Republic are still relatively low.
Every third Czech scrap merchant buys stolen metal, the country’s trade inspection authority said on Tuesday. In the first six months of this year, the Czech Trade Inspection carried out checks in 200 scrap metal yards and found out that over 30 percent of them breached the law. Theft of metal items has become a serious issue in the Czech Republic; thieves often steal sewage covers, electrical wiring and other items which they sell to scrap yards. Municipalities from around the country have long been calling for introducing stricter regulation of the business.
The film The Dark Knight Rises topped the Czech box offices over the weekend. Some 80,000 viewers came to see the Hollywood blockbuster which made around 11 million crowns at the first weekend in Czech cinemas, according to figures by Czech film distributors released on Tuesday. Second on the list came the animated film Ice Age 4 with jut over 26,000 viewers, followed by Madagascar 3, The Amazing Spiderman and Magic Mike.
A court in Domažlice, in western Bohemia, on Tuesday sentenced a 36-year-old man to six years in prison for having assaulted and injured a bus driver. The court said that the man, who in the past worked as a guard at the US embassy in Prague, was trying to overtake the bus on a country road; when they reach a nearby town, the man got off his car and attacked the bus driver, inflicting permanent injuries in the incident which occurred in September 2011. The convicted man appealed the verdict.
Stanislav Ježek finished fifth in the final of the Olympic men’s single canoe event on Tuesday, 8.67 seconds after the winner Tony Enstanguet from France. The 35-year-old Czech canoeist achieved the same position as four years ago at the Games in Beijing. In other Olympic results, Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek beat the Italian pair Daniele Bracciali, Andreas Seppi 4:6, 7:6, 6:4 to advanced to the second round of the Olympic tennis doubles tournament while skeet shooter Jan Sychra finished sixth in the Olympic finals on Tuesday.