The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, will on Wednesday present the cabinet with information on which international airlines have expressed interest in taking over Czech Airlines, or ČSA. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that the information would only concern possible interest in taking part in the privatisation of the Czech national carrier; price and other aspects would be addressed in a future phase of the process. A previous attempt to sell off ČSA in 2009 was not successful.
The Czech defence minister, Alexandr Vondra, says Sweden has offered the Czech Republic a new deal to lease 14 Gripen fighter planes that is 10 percent cheaper than an offer made in the summer. The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, had previously said that his government might launch a new tender process for fighter jets if the two sides could not agree a deal. Mr. Vondra is stepping down at the end of the week.
Fire officers were called out on Tuesday morning to put out a fire at the Czech National Library at Prague’s Clementinum. The small fire – which broke out in a kitchen in the administrative section of the library – did not cause any injuries. The damages are being assessed. A spokesperson for the Prague fire service said that the cause appeared to be an electrical fault. The National Library is currently undergoing renovations.
Archaeologists have found rare medieval artefacts in the courtyard of a building on Loretánská St. in the Prague Castle complex that should in future house the Václav Havel Library. The excavations have uncovered human bones, ceramics and coins from the era of Vratislaus II of Bohemia. The protected building was purchased for the Havel Library by the wealthy businessman Zdeněk Bakala. Some conservationists have objected to the project, which has yet to receive a construction permit.
The heavy metal musician Randy Blythe has been charged in Prague with causing bodily harm with lethal consequences. The frontman of the group Lamb of God is accused of pushing a fan from the stage during a concert in the city in 2010, resulting in his death. Blythe, who is currently in the US, spent five weeks on remand in Prague earlier this year before being released on bail. If found guilty, he could receive a five- to 10-year jail term.
The Czech Republic beat the USA 13:4 at the World Floorball Championships in Switzerland on Monday night. The Czechs, who were favourites, got off to a slower start than in their first game – in which they routed Japan 21:1 – and did not score until the sixth minute. The result puts them into the knock-out stage, and they will face Latvia on Tuesday night in a game to decide who wins their group.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, was in Prague for a short visit on Monday to support a bid by the American and Japanese company Westinghouse to complete the Temelín nuclear power station in South Bohemia. Mrs. Clinton met with the Czech prime minister, Petr Necaš, her Czech counterpart, Karel Schwarzenberg, and leaders of the opposition. At a press conference in the Czech capital after meeting with the Czech foreign minister, Mrs. Clinton expressed support for Westinghouse, saying the company was offering the "best technology and security guarantees". The firm is competing for the Temelín deal with Russia's Atomstroyexport (bidding as part of a Russian-Czech consortium). On Monday, Mrs. Clinton also praised Czech-U.S. relations, calling the Czech Republic one of the closest partners of the U.S. in Europe.
In related news, the visiting U.S. secretary of state issued a warning in Prague to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad about the deployment of chemical weapons against inhabitants, although she would not say what steps the United States would take if the weapons were used. Mrs. Clinton said democratic governments throughout the world were closely watching developments in Syria. Her Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg warned about the situation in the country being increasingly chaotic and said it was not clear what would happen if a rebellious group got hold of chemical weapons. The U.S. secretary of state said the Czech Republic had ample knowledge of processing chemical, biological and other arsenals, stressing that cooperation with Prague would be very important in the event that Mr Assad´s regime fell and international forces were deployed in Syria.
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.