The Czech government on Wednesday approved legislation reforming the financing of political parties. The bill will require parties to establish transparent bank accounts accessible on the web; they will also have to release their annual accounts and details of campaign finances. However, the bill does not establish an independent body that would monitor parties’ finances; its absence has been criticized by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption agency. The new legislation will now be debated by the Czech Parliament.
The last four weeks were the coldest in a hundred years, according to the Czech Meteorological Institute. Temperatures in the period between March 11 and April 7 averaged -1 degree Celsius, the lowest temperatures on record since 1912 when nationwide measuring began. Meteorologists said the unusually cold start of spring was due to strong jet streams over the Atlantic which created cyclones that brought cold air to central Europe from Scandinavia and Russia.
The Czech government on Wednesday failed to reach a decision on whether the controversial system of welfare payments, known as S-Cards, should continue. The cabinet refused a proposal by the labour and social affairs minister, Ludmila Müllerová of TOP 09, to use the cards as identification for welfare recipients. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said the best solution would be to scrap the system, a move opposed by the coalition TOP 09 group.
The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a ban imposed in 2010 on the Czech extremist Workers Party by the country’s Supreme Administrative Court. The Czech Justice Ministry said on Wednesday the European Court rejected a complaint against the ban filed by the group’s former leader, Tomáš Vandas. The far-right Workers’ Party was dissolved in February 2010 upon the government’s request; the cabinet claimed the group incited tensions in the society, abused minorities and threatened democracy. The Workers’ Party became the first political group to be banned in the Czech Republic since the fall of communism.
Zlín host Plzeň in game two of the finals of the Czech hockey league playoffs. Tuesday’s opening game of the best-of-seven final series was won by visitors Plzeň who have never won the league title. On Wednesday, Plzeň were leading 1:0 at the start of the match after the team’s captain Martin Straka scored in the 4th minute.
The levels of overweight and obesity in the Czech Republic have stopped rising, according to a new survey commissioned by the public health insurer, VZP. The survey found that 21 percent of Czechs are obese while another 34 percent are overweight, the same numbers that were recorded in a similar study three years ago. There are now fewer obese and overweight women whereas the number of overweight and obese men grew slightly. The survey also found that 20 percent of women aged 18 and 19 were underweight.
Korean Air has acquired a 44-percent stake in the troubled Czech national carrier, Czech Airlines. The contract between Korean Air and Czech Aeroholding, ČSA’s mother company was signed in Prague on Wednesday. Under the deal, the Korean carrier will pay 3.4 million US dollars for the minority stake in Czech Airlines, the Korean carrier’s first such investment abroad.
To be approved by the Czech Parliament, an Irish opt-out from the EU’s Lisbon treaty will require a three-fifth majority in both chambers, the Czech government said on Wednesday. The cabinet adopted the view that the opt-out from judicial and home affairs coordination complemented the European Union’s primary law, and as such needed to be approved by the so-called constitutional majority of lawmakers. Czech MPs and Senators may however choose to follow a different procedure in voting on the opt-out, the CTK news agency said.
The captain of the Czech Fed Cup team, Petr Pála, on Wednesday announced the nominations for the upcoming semifinal rubber against Italy. The Czech team includes the country’s top player, Petra Kvitová along with Klára Zakopalová, Lucie Šafářová, Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká. The Fed Cup semifinals are to be played out in Palermo on April 20 and 21.
Car production in the Czech Republic dropped by 18 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest figures released by the Czech Automotive Industry Association. In total, over 287, 700 vehicles were made in the Czech Republic between January and March. All Czech-based car producers saw a decrease in production. Meanwhile, the production of trucks registered a 56-percent drop over the same period, and reached a mere 157 vehicles.
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