Energy giant ČEZ has reached a settlement with the European Commission, which is investigating the company on suspicion of stifling competition. A ČEZ spokesman announced Tuesday that the company has agreed to sell one of five coal power plants. The EC began investigating the power company in July 2011 over suspicions that it was restricting competition on the wholesale electricity market and hoarding capacity in the transmission network so as to prevent a rival company from entering the market. If Brussels found ČEZ guilty, the Czech company may have received a fine in the order of tens of billions of crowns or could have been forced to sell a part of its assets.
The government has approved a proposal to cancel mandatory consent of both parents for the medical treatment of children. The Senate sent the proposal to the lower house last Friday with a request that it be fast-tracked. Consent from both parents was introduced in the health services reform package and has come under criticism for causing problems both in families and in health care facilities, with many saying the practice is impossible to carry out in many cases and only leads to signatures being forged. The new legislation would allow the child’s own consent to suffice. If a doctor deems that the child is not mature enough to make the decision, the consent of one parent plus a grandparent or nanny will suffice.
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.
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 party of Miloš Zeman says it has acquired the 50,000 signatures necessary for the former prime minister to run for president. The chairman of the Party of Civic Rights – Zemanovci, Vratislav Mynář, told the press on Tuesday that their petition for Mr Zeman’s candidacy had received morethan 50,200 signatures in roughly two months, and that more were being added. Zeman already received nominations from ten senators, which also would have sufficed for his candidature, but also wanted to test public support with the petition. Other candidates at present include former prime minister Jan Fischer, Social Democrat Jiří Dienstbier, and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Elections will be held in February of 2013.
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.
A policeman in the North Bohemia is being investigated for running his car into a tent full of sleeping children on Saturday while intoxicated, the news site iDnes.cz reports. An 11-year-old boy suffered a head injury in the incident and is in in hospital in intensive care. According to iDnes, the accident occurred in the middle of the night, when the 22-year-old police officer’s car swerved off the road and into a children’s fishing camp.
Last weekend was the mostly deadly of the year on Czech roads, with eleven people losing their lives in traffic accidents since Friday. Three of the deadly accidents involved motorcycles. A 62-year-old man died on the spot while riding an unlit bicycle on the wrong side of the road. The second most deadly weekend this year was also in June, when eight people were killed on Czech roads on the weekend of the 10th.
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 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.
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