The vegetable sowing area in the Czech Republic has diminished by 30 percent over the past decade, according to figures by the Czech and Moravian Vegetable Growers’ Union, released on Wednesday. While in 2002, vegetables were grown on 12,700 hectares of land, a decade later it was 9,171 hectares. Imports of vegetables have grown by 50 percent over the same period, and now account for two thirds of all vegetables consumed in the country. However, the imports have slowed down as Czech consumers increasingly prefer home-grown vegetables.
Firefighters ordered the evacuation of some 60 children from a school building in Všeruby, in western Bohemia on Wednesday after a vessel containing nitric acid broke and the liquid leaked. No schoolchildren were injured in the accident; one teacher who inhaled the acid vapours was taken to hospital.
Tomáš Berdych defeated Italy’s Andreas Seppi 7-6, 6-2 at the indoor Paris Masters event on Wednesday, and advanced to the tournament’s third round. The fifth-seeded Berdych had to overcome some difficulties in the first set but scored five aces in the second to wrap up the match in one hour and 40 minutes. In the next round, the 27-year-old Czech, ranked sixth in the world, will play the winner of the match between France’s Richard Gasquet and Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
The lower house has voted to postpone deliberations on the controversial
tax reform package to next week, despite disagreement from the opposition.
The Civic Democrats requested the delay on Tuesday afternoon in order to
have the crucial vote take place after their party convention, due to
internal disagreements over the reform package. The discussion in the
house was scheduled to begin on Wednesday. A group of Civic Democrat MPs
met on Tuesday morning to discuss possible changes to the proposed
legislation, but again made no headway. Six rebel MPs from the party
supported the proposal to postpone Wednesday’s vote in order to have
time for discussion, but said the reform package would remain an issue of
contention even after the party convention this weekend.
The opposition Social Democrats and the leadership of the Public Affairs party did not support the motion, saying that putting off the vote on any crucial legislation such as the tax package or the pension reform would only contribute to political instability.
Police in the Dominican Republic, in cooperation with Czech investigators, arrested seven Czech fugitive criminals, suspected of money laundering and fraud. The seven arrived in the Czech Republic on Sunday. Four of the fugitives have already been sentenced in absentia, and were thus immediately taken to Czech prisons. Although the Dominican and the Czech Republics do not have a formal extradition agreement, Dominican officials were willing to arrest and deport the Czechs because some of them had committed felonies in the country. The Czech police were planning to assist in arresting at least ten more Czech citizens in the Dominican Republic who are suspected of sexual and violent crimes, including murder. So far, their efforts have been thwarted by the adverse weather conditions due to hurricane Sandy.
The police have begun an investigation into Karel Randák, the former head of Czech counter-intelligence and a member of the board of trustees of the Anticorruption Endowment, on charges that he leaked privileged information. Randák along with one other person from the Office of the Government are being accused of leaking information related to the salary bonus of Jana Nagyová, the managing director of Prime Minister Petr Nečas’s cabinet. The information that Ms Nagyová received approximately 190 thousand crowns in March, with a basic salary of 30 thousand crowns a month, became public earlier this year. Mr Randák said that this investigation has been initiated as a threat to his bid in this winter’s presidential election.
The Office for the Protection of Competition (ÚOHS )issued a 900-thousand-crown fine to the national Railway Infrastructure Administration for breaking free-competition rules in a 237-million-crown tender to modernize a part of a railway line. The ÚOHS claims the railway administration disqualified the bid by the construction giant Skanska without proper cause, even though the price offered was at least a fourth lower than the final price of the project.
The police in the south-western Domažlice region uncovered at least 20 liters of methanol-laced alcohol. All of the alcohol most likely came from a single local supplier who bought canisters of illegally produced liquor in east Moravia in the spring and summer. The police were first alerted when one of the samples that was brought by the public last week to the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň tested for high levels of methanol. The trail of illegally sold alcohol led them to Domažlice, where the police discovered laced rum, vodka and other hard liquor. So far, no one in the Domažlice region was arrested in connection to the methanol scandal. In the whole country, 30 people have died since September, as a result of methanol poisoning.
The European Commission have renewed payments to the Czech Republic for the Environment and Transportation programs, having paid out 43 billion crowns to the Finance Ministry for past projects this week. The commission suspended payments for the Environment program in June and for the Transportation program in August 2011. Financing for a number of other programs was also suspended, because of the Commission’s misgivings about the way the Czech ministries administered the funds. Although financing for some programs was renewed in the summer, funds for these particular programs were paid out only now.
The coach of the Czech Fed Cup women’s tennis team, Petr Pála, said on Tuesday that he is not planning yet on replacing Petra Kvitová in this weekend’s Fed Cup final in Prague. The leading Czech female tennis player left the WTA finals in Istanbul last week early, because of illness and has been trying to recover ever since. Kvitová played an exhibition match against Maria Sharapova in Prague on Monday, but was not in great shape. The 22-year-old will take an endurance test on Thursday, which will determine whether she will lead her teammates against Serbia.