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.
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 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.
The number of gun owners in the Czech Republic is rising, statistics by the police as well as the Czech Proof House for Arms and Ammunition have revealed. In the first half of 2012, holders of gun licences in the country bought the same amount of pistols and rifles as during the whole of last year. According to the police, there is now one gun for every 14th person in the country. In other words, there is currently a total of some 700,000 legally-held guns.
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.
According to a poll conducted by PPM Factum Research, Czech presidential hopeful Miloš Zeman is trailing Jan Fischer by only 1.4 percentage points. The agency announced today that the August figures are a jump from a poll conducted in July, which had Jan Fischer 4 percentage points ahead of Mr Zeman, a former prime minister. The third place, according to PPM, is currently held by the economist Jan Švejnar, who has not announced his candidacy yet. The current poll suggests that none of the candidates would get more than half of the votes in the first round of the direct presidential elections, which will take place for the first time this winter. As a result, top two candidates will go on to the second round. Jan Fischer, the former head of the Czech caretaker government in 2009, announced on his Facebook page on Monday that he has the 50,000 signatures necessary to enter the presidential race. Mr Zeman had done the same earlier.
The Czech Parliament’s Mandate and Immunity Committee will deliberate another police request to give up former governor and Social Democratic MP David Rath for criminal investigation on Monday afternoon. The lower house committee had already approved criminal investigation into Mr Rath in the spring in relation to corruption charges over the reconstruction of the Buštěhrad chateau. This time, the police are seeking to investigate Mr Rath on three other charges relating to purchases of equipment for a Kolín hospital, a nursing home in Kladno and medical supplies for a hospital in Mladá Boleslav.
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 first deputy to the environment minister, Jakub Kulíšek, died at the weekend at the age of just 31. The deputy minister was in charge of the economics and environmental policy at the ministry, a position he had held for less than a year. The spokesman for the ministry said his death was sports-related; news website iDnes cited sources as saying Mr Kulíšek drowned during a kayaking trip on the Austrian river Enns in Styria. The environment minister, Tomáš Chalupa, expressed sorrow over the tragedy, calling it "a huge loss".