Czech industrial output decreased in November by 3.9 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Monday. After seasonal adjustment, industrial production dropped by 6.2 percent compared to November 2011. That’s the biggest decline in the country’s industrial production since September 2009. Analysts say the fresh data confirm the weak state of the Czech economy which has been in recession for over a year.
The Czech government has approached international banks to gauge their interest in a new emission of government bonds, the Reuters news agency reported on Monday, quoting a London-based market source. It is not clear when the new emission could be put out, the report says. The Czech government last issued bonds in October which sold for nearly 70 billion crowns.
The Czech anti-monopoly watchdog has cancelled a 340-million-crown tender by Prague’s road maintenance authority for greenery upkeep. The tender was only open to firms whose insurance of single loss events exceeded 100 million crowns. However, the anti-monopoly watchdog said the criterion was irrelevant, and could in effect narrow the number of applicants.
A deep sinkhole appeared in the early hours of Monday in the village of Horní Jiřetín, in the north of the Czech Republic. The hole, some six metres wide and eight meters deep, formed above an old shaft, part of a mine founded in the 1870s. The sinkhole caused no damages. The authorities said they would fill the hole with soil; no other measures should be necessary if the earth movement stops, a local official said.
Czech theatre and film actress Jiřina Jirásková died on Monday at the age of 81. A native of Prague, Jiřína Jirásková joined the Na Vinohradech Theatre in the 1950s, and remained there until retirement. She first appeared on the film screen in 1955 and soon became a popular actress thanks to her roles in movies such as Men about Town, I, Distressing God, Hotel for Strangers, and others. Jiřina Jirásková won several awards and in 2006 received the Czech Republic’s Medal of Merit.
A group of senators across the political spectrum is preparing a complaint to the Constitutional Court with regard to the scope of the amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus. According to Senator Alena Dernerová they want to try to get part of the amnesty annulled by the court. Among the most controversial points of the broad amnesty is the fact that it will most likely see the release of people suspected of massive corruption and embezzlement reaching into the top echelons of power. The opposition has accused the president of sweeping corruption cases relating to the privatization process from the 1990s under the carpet.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas, who counter-signed the amnesty has also come under fire over the decision. Under Czech law the government is ultimately responsible for the amnesty and the Civic Democratic Party’s coalition partners say they were not informed about the decision. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09 has refused to take responsibility for the controversial amnesty and the head of LIDEM Karolina Peake has said she expects an explanation at the government’s next session.
The Prague State Attorney’s Office has confirmed receiving a number of criminal complaints with regard to the amnesty. A spokesperson for the office said the complaints were being dealt with but refused to provide any further details. According to legal experts neither the president nor the prime minister can be investigated over the matter, not only because they have political immunity but because such an amnesty is fully within the president’s powers.
In line with the amnesty, Czech prisons have already released over 6,000 inmates. Another one thousand prisoners should be released in the coming hours. Overall the amnesty will relate to approximately 32 thousand people, among them 14 thousand with suspended sentences, 12 thousand sentenced to community work and 3 thousand currently under house arrest. Some cases will be closed. The amnestied crimes will not appear in people’s criminal records.
Talks are expected to take place in the coming days regarding the future of the coalition government. The smallest party in government, LIDEM, which announced its decision to leave the coalition in connection with the sacking of Karolína Peake from the post of defense minister shortly before Christmas, has nodded to the prime minister’s proposal for fresh negotiations. The talks should address the division of portfolios after LIDEM was forced to relinquish the defense ministry. TOP 09 has already said it would be unacceptable for the Civic Democrats to hold both the transport and defense ministries.