The Czech Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned Wednesday’s launch of
a North Korean long-range missile. In a written statement, the ministry
said the launch was a “provocative act” which was contrary to North
Korea’s international obligations and which seriously violated a
resolution by the UN Security Council. The ministry urged the country to
immediately comply with all its international obligations and to implement
the relevant Security Council resolutions.
North Korea launched its Unha-3 rocket at around 10 AM local time with the state objective of carrying satellite to orbit. However, the country is banned by a UN resolution from conducting missile tests.
President Vaclav Klaus on Wednesday appointed three new ministers to office within a planned cabinet reshuffle. The head of the Civic Democrats’ deputies group in the lower house Zbynek Stanjura took up the post of transport minister, while Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake now heads the defense ministry. Her place at the head of the government’s legislative council was filled by her deputy Petr Mlsna. There are plans to eventually merge the transport ministry with that of trade and industry which would be run by a Civic Democrat.
The Czech Republic might no longer insist on vetoing the eurozone’s planned banking union, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Wednesday. The Czech government opposes the plan over concerns it could rid the Czech central bank of its authority over foreign banks’ Czech subsidiaries. But Mr Kalousek said that if new legislation proposed by the EU legal service is approved, these concerns would no longer be justified and the Czech Republic would no longer be opposed the planned banking union. EU leaders are set to discuss the issue at a meeting in Brussels at the end of the week.
Judges and prosecutors might not be receiving salaries as of next month due to a legislative snag. The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday failed to approve legislation which would, among other things, introduce new rules for the calculation of salaries. MPs voted down the bill because it would also tax their benefits. The Czech government is set to discuss the situation later on Wednesday. The current system of remunerating judges and prosecutors has been abolished by the Czech Constitutional Court as of the end of the year.
In a debate on the draft state budget for 2013 in the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday, MPs came up with proposals to move more than 10 billion crowns within the budget. If approved, the changes would raise teachers’ salaries and increase support for social services, sports, and other areas. Deputies also proposed to use some 500 million crowns, earmarked for the servicing of the state debt, for incentives for the film industry, an idea Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said was unfortunate. The final vote on the budget is scheduled for next week.
The population of the Czech Republic increased slightly over the first nine months of this year, according to the Czech Statistical office. At the end of September, the country had 10,513.209 inhabitants which was some 7,800 more than last December. The growth in population is mainly owed to immigration; some 6,200 foreigners settled in the Czech Republic between January and September which was 7,700 people less than in the same period last year.
The Russian Centre, an institution promoting the Russian language and culture, opened at West Bohemian University in Plzeň on Wednesday, the first such centre in the coutnry. Funded by a Moscow-based foundation, the centre plans to hold language course and organize lectures and debates. It will focus on students and teachers at the univeristy as well as on the general public, the university said. The region of west Bohemia has reportedly registered an increased interest in the Russian langauge. The region is also home to a large Russian-speaking community.
The police in Most, in the north of the country, closed an online store selling neo-Nazi music, clothes, and other artefacts. The police said that two brothers, aged 30 and 33, set up the store in 2009. Some 2,000 items were confiscated during a search of their house, 70 percent of which were considered as illegal under the Czech law. If convicted, the men could receive 10-year prison sentences.
The station Opava-východ in the north east of the country won this year’s poll for the Czech Republic’s most beautiful train station. The recently renovated structure was built in 1851 in the style of late classicism. The top prizes for the most fairytale-like train station were awarded to the train stations of Nemilkov, in western Bohemia, and Mnichovice, outside Prague. Around 8,500 people took part in the poll.
Chelsea FC and Czech international goalkeeper Petr Čech won the mid-season part of the Golden Ball poll among sports journalists for best Czech footballer. The 30-year-old Čech won the poll for the seventh time in a row. Werder Bremen’s defender Theo Gebre Selassie came in second in the poll, followed by Jablonec striker David Lafata.