As of Wednesday children will have to have their own identity papers when travelling abroad. The papers may consist of a passport or ‘child’s ID’, which can replace a passport within the EU. Until now, parents have been able to have their children registered in their own ID papers. As of the beginning of next year, children’s documents will also have to include biometric data that will be valid for five years. The changes are required by European Union directives.
The government has approved 25.9 billion crowns for research, development and innovation next year. The same amount, which comes from the state budget, was also approved for the 2014 and 2015. The decision means a cut of roughly 700 million from 2012 that the Academy of Sciences has criticised, saying it will entail additional cuts of 300 million for its activities from year to year. The government says that the plan is in accordance with its long-term work to retain from cutting science funding in spite of budget restrictions in other areas.
Three out of four Czech children do not meet international recommendations for physical activity and do not get 60 minutes of activity a day, according to an international report released on Tuesday by Health Minister Leoš Heger. A fifth of boys and a tenth of girls are overweight or obese, says the report, and more than half of 13-year-olds and three-fourths of 15-year-olds have tried smoking. Frequent alcohol and marijuana use among children has also increased. The report is the result of a study from 2010 in which 230,000 children aged 11 to 15 from 41 countries took part.
The nuclear power plant of Dukovany has completed a project to raise its output from 1,760 MW to 2,000 MW. A plant spokesman told the Czech Press Agency that the EDU+ project had included the replacement and modernisation of eight turbine sets, generators and transformers and a rise in output among all four nuclear reactors. Dukovany has thus reached the same output level as the Temelin nuclear power plant in Southern Bohemia. The older of the two Czech nuclear power plants, Dukovany was the biggest domestic power producer last year, as in previous years. Its production rose by 1.3% year-on-year to 14,369 TWh, which was the second best performance in the plant´s nearly 27-year-old history.
Former Wimbledon runner-up and World No. 7 in men’s tennis Tomáš Berdych suffered an upset against Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the first round of Wimbledon on Monday. The player lost three tiebreakers in the result. The Czech was looking to reach the second round for the eighth straight year but came up short: 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4). The player expressed great frustration over the result in an interview for Mladá fronta Dnes, saying he hoped he would improve in the second half of the season.
The Institute of State and Law says that no expert opinion was needed for the purchase of the CASA military aircraft in 2010. In a statement prepared for the Ministry of Finance, the institute of the Academy of Sciences writes that the Spanish transport planes qualified as “special technology” that did not at the time require an expert price analysis or a public tender. The police have asked Parliament to give up former defence minister Vlasta Parkanová for prosecution because she did not have an expert price analysis conducted prior to the 3.5 billion crown purchase.
The opposition Social Democrats and police have condemned Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek for saying that the charges against Vlasta Parkanová were an attack on democracy. Police president Petr Lessy said he was “very alarmed” by the comment, and suggested that Kalousek turn to the general inspectorate with his concerns. The Social Democratic Party called on the government to quickly comment on Mr Kalousek’s words or else be suspected of sympathising with them. Speaking on a Czech Television programme on Sunday, the Finance minister and deputy chairman of the TOP 09 party said by accusing Parkanová of corruption the police were attacking the state’s decision-making processes and the democratic system itself.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas thanked Croatian rescue services for their professionalism in responding to the tragic crash of a Czech bus on Saturday. Mr Nečas called his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović on Monday morning to express his gratitude to all involved. Most of the injured passengers have already been released from hospital and many have returned the Czech Republic on a special government plane. Six people remain in hospital in Croatia, two of them – 13-year-old twins – in serious but improving condition. The bus, carrying 51 people, reportedly struck a pole on Saturday morning before ramming into the median and flipping over, killing eight people, including the driver. It is believed that the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
TOP 09 chairman Karel Schwarzenberg expects a major coalition dispute over differing views on the depth of European integration. Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg wants the Czech Republic to remain within the core European mainstream, which he says is the only realistic possibility that would be beneficial to the Czech Republic. The prime minister, he said, was of a different opinion, one that reflects a certain wing of the Civic Democratic Party. Nonetheless, he says, the government can no longer zigzag on the Czech approach to the issue and must develop a unified stance, which he believes may result in a very difficult situation.
The EC may ask for a preliminary court injunction to ban the cutting of bark-beetle-infested trees in the Šumava National Park. A spokesman for EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik told the Czech Press Agency on Monday that the EC has asked the Czech Republic to stop felling spruces in the park and addressed a letter with reservations and questions to Prague in mid-June, but has to receive a response. Brussels, he said, is monitoring the situation and will take legal steps if necessary. Lumberjacks began felling trees again on Monday in one of the infested localities.