Three streets in Prague’s Dolní Chabry district will be named after Czech hockey players who lost their lives in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy last year. Josef Vašíček, Jan Marek, Karel Rachůnek and 40 others (including crew members) on board their plane died at the scene when the aircraft crashed during take-off; one of two survivors died later in hospital. All three of the Czech players were added to the Czech Hockey Hall of Fame last year; the decision to name streets in their honour was taken by the Prague council.
The Czech Union for Nature Conservation has expressed concern that Šumava National Park could decline as a result of an Environment Ministry plan, which – it says – will enable uncontrolled construction and put local town interests above nature conservation. The union’s chairman Libor Ambrožek, a former environment minister, told the Czech news agency that conservation in the national park would decline to such a degree it would no longer meet national park criteria. The organisation has sent an open letter to politicians, political parties, as well as the Association of Towns and the Association of Regions to try and fuel broader discussion. Under the bill, the most-protected area of the park, which forms 22.1 percent, will be allowed spontaneous development with a further 8.9 percent being added. The Czech news agency reported that over 45 years the most protected zone will grow to 24,000 hectares. Critics nevertheless charge that other interests in the area are being given equal treatment as nature conservation. A provision in the bill, for example, allows for the construction of a ski lift in another part of the park.
The executive board of the Czech Civic Democrats have called on Prime Minister Petr Nečas and party members to side strongly against the Czech Republic joining the planned European banking union. Many members of the Civic Democratic Party are warning that a Europe-wide banking union would be a step towards further EU integration and possible changes in European treaties. The European Commission is expected to submit a proposal of the banking union in the first two weeks of September. The union could potentially be one of the bigger issues debated ahead of regional and Senate elections to be held in the Czech Republic in the autumn.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has expressed concern over
recent developments in Russia, including what he called a tightening of
conditions and the restraint of expression by civic groups. Taking part in
a meeting of diplomats at Prague’s Černín Palace on Tuesday, the
foreign minister suggested in some ways it was as if the country was
heading back to the time of the Tsars. At the same time, the foreign
minister stressed that Prague had an eminent interest in strong ties with
Moscow; he called Russia a key power and partner.
The foreign minister on Tuesday also reflected on the recent sentencing of members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot to two years in prison. Mr Schwarzenberg has consistently supported the trio and on Tuesday he compared their performance in Moscow, which landed them jail time, to social happenings in Europe 40 years ago that led to greater emancipation.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has made it past the first round at the final grand slam event of the season, the US Open. She defeated Slovenian opponent Polona Hercog, 65th in the WTA rankings. The first set came down to a tie-break which Kvitová won, and the Czech fully dominated the second. The final score was 7:6 (6), 6:1.
The construction of a new elephant and hippo pavilion at Prague Zoo will cost more than originally expected: 519 million crowns instead of the original 431 originally agreed with the Skanska, the company in charge. The rise in the cost is tied to unforeseen construction costs as well as project-related analysis, Czech Radio’s Regina said.
Tomáš Sedláček, a Czechoslovak army general, World War II veteran and political prisoner under communism, passed away on Monday in Prague at the age of 94. A professional soldier before the war, Mr Sedláček escaped occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. He trained in the British armed forces during World War II and fought on both western and eastern fronts. Settling in Prague after the war, he was arrested in 1951 by the Communist Military Intelligence and received a life sentence for conspiracy. He was released under an amnesty in1960 and later rehabilitated.
The Czech Supreme Audit Office discovered inconsistencies in the Education Ministry’s accounting for last year. An audit at the ministry found that expenses worth 117.2 million crowns were not properly accounted for. The Supreme Audit Office also says that there were significant problems with the ministry’s property management. The total cost of all the inconsistencies revealed by the audit was established to be over 29 billion crowns. The Education Ministry claims that it did not breech the law or budget restrictions, and that the problems were the result of only formal mistakes of its accounting department.
The Czech Environmental Inspectorate issued a fine of 450 thousand crowns to the Šumava National Park in southern Bohemia on Monday. The national park administration is being held accountable for disturbing the nesting of the wood grouse, using biocides to exterminate bark beetles and creating clearings near a lake in the Klatovy region. The harmful actions were taken in the years 2010 and 2011, under the administration of former park directors František Krejčí and Jan Straáský. The National Park is planning to appeal the decision and fine.
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