The head of the opposition Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka also met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday, in which he stressed that a guarantee regarding the final price of completion of the project as well as an upholding of the completion deadline as well as safety of Temelín as important. Besides the Czech Republic’s nuclear power plant Temelín, Mr Sobotka and Mrs Clinton discussed other matters including the EU, the situation in Syria and Afghanistan.
The Czech minister of transport, Pavel Dobeš of the LIDEM party, officially stepped down on Monday. Mr Dobeš announced his resignation last month under pressure from his own party over problems with a new vehicle registry system; however, party infighting also played a role in the move, and the outgoing minister said he was considering quitting the LIDEM group. Coalition parties are yet to agree on who will succeed Pavel Dobeš at the Transport Ministry.
The Supreme Audit Office has uncovered shortcomings in management at the Office of the President and Lány Forestry Administration, an allowance organisation. The bureau uncovered mistakes in accounting and inventory as well as a number of public tenders, a spokeswoman revealed; there was no misuse of state budget funds and some of the problems uncovered have already been rectified. The main task of Lesní správa Lány, the Lány Forestry Administration, is to meet the requirements of the president and guests at the presidential chateau and grounds.
Former prime minister Mirek Topolánek has suggested he will leave the party he once headed, the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, telling the weekly Euro he would probably not renew membership in March of next year. He told the magazine that the chances of his paying the annual membership fee was “close to zero”; the party, which heads the current government coalition, has suffered a significant drop in voter preference recent opinion polls, coming third behind both opposition parties the Social Democrats and the Communists. Speaking at the party’s convention in November, Mr Topolánek pushed for changes in leadership which he says did not happen. Mr Topolánek first joined the Civic Democrats in 1994; he took over as leader in 2002 and led the party shortly up until the 2010 elections, when he was replaced by current leader Petr Nečas.
Deputy Communist Party leader Jiří Dolejš has suggested that support from within his party is likely higher for Social Democratic presidential hopeful Jiří Dienstbier than for fellow fellow candidate and former Social Democrat leader Miloš Zeman. Mr Dolejš was reacting to an appeal by current Social Democrat chairman Bohuslav Sobotka at the weekend for the Left to align behind a single candidate, to curb right-wing or conservative candidates' chances of being elected. Despite the appeal, Mr Dolejš made clear he did not know who his party leadership would recommend. The country faces its first direct presidential election in January; President Václav Klaus ends his final term in March.
Students in their last year at high school had their last chance on Monday to apply for high school-leaving exams next spring. The exams include a compulsory section in the Czech language and an option of choosing between either mathematics or a foreign language. After numerous mistakes in the last exams, changes in testing were introduced: namely all students will be tested at the same level (without, for example, an advanced option in maths).
A patient in his early 60s was admitted to hospital in Benešov, Central Bohemia, in serious condition on Sunday evening for methyl alcohol poisoning. Police are investigating and the bottle of spirits that were consumed is being tested in a laboratory. A police spokesman revealed the bottle was from the patient’s long-term supplies. The Czech Republic was hit by an outbreak of methanol poisoning in mid-September that over the weeks and months since has claimed 37 lives. The laced alcohol was introduced onto the market illegally in September by bootleggers. Officials have repeatedly appealed to Czechs not to drink hard alcohol of unknown origin – a warning being repeated ahead of the holiday season.
According to Czech Radio’s Regina, Prague residents may have to pay more next year for garbage removal: City Hall has not yet addressed the issue publically, but several towns are planning hikes. Funds have not been enough in the long term – estimates suggest that roughly half billion crowns are needed.
The Czech government plans to keep community service for the unemployed
which was overturned last week by the country’s Constitutional Court, the
minister of labour and social affairs, Ludmila Müllerová said on Czech TV
on Sunday. To accommodate the objections of the court, the system might
undergo some minor changes, Ms Müllerová said. These could include the
prolongation of period after which the jobless are required to start
community service, and even a possibility of some salary being paid to
those who take part in the programme.
The Constitutional Court last week said the free yet compulsory community service for the unemployed, introduced by the Nečas government last year, was humiliating, in breach of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and also contradicted a ban on forced labour.
The Czech Republic’s security council is set to discuss on Monday a possible deal with Sweden to extend the lease of the JAS 39 Gripen fighters. The outgoing Czech Defence Minister, Alexandr Vondra, will inform the council of the negotiations; Mr Vondra said earlier this week the latest offer was much better than the one made previously. The ten-year-lease of the Swedish-made fighters will expire in 2014; the Czech government prefers an extension of the lease to a new tender. The news agency ČTK reported that three possible deals are being discussed: a three-year extension for over five billion, a five-year lease for nearly eight billion, or a ten-year extension for more than 14 billion crowns.