The Czech government has refused aid to the mining firm NWR which plans to
cut some 3,000 jobs at its unprofitable Paskov mine in north Moravia. The
interim cabinet will not pay any debts of firm’s owners, will not buy
firm’s subsidiary or the Paskov mine itself, Prime Minister Jiří
said on Wednesday. Instead, the government will focus on assisting those
who will lose their jobs, Mr Rusnok added, arguing it made no sense to
a mine running which loses 1.5 billion crowns each year.
New World Resources said they would close the Paskov mine by the end of next year, a move that would cut around 3,000 jobs. The firm said that if they received between four and six billion crowns in assistance from the Czech government, they would close the plant in 2018.
A Czech NGO is planning to launch a campaign entitled Live Longer at Home to inform retired people and their relatives of services available to seniors living at home. Organizers said a vast majority of retired people wanted to continue living in their homes rather than move to seniors’ homes; however, they are little aware of the care options available. Information on these services will be advertised at the campaign’s website while leaflets and brochures will be distributed at labour offices and town halls. The head of the Czech Labour Office said thousands of unemployed people could find work in assisting seniors. The campaign will be officially launched on October 1.
The European Commission has approved a major dust control project for two steelworks in northern Moravia, a spokeswoman for the commission said. Two projects worth some 1.2 billion crowns should lower the volume of dust emitted by Třinecké železárny and the Ostrava plant of ArcelorMittal by around 230 tonnes each year, significantly reducing air pollution in the area. Třinecké železárny is planning to start work on dust reduction immediately. A spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal said dust filters should be installed in 2016.
An estimated 3,000 coal miners held a demonstration in the eastern city of Ostrava on Tuesday against job cuts, plans to cut their salaries and the mooted closure of the city’s Paskov mine. A small number of protesters broke into a building that formerly housed the OKD mining company after the main demonstration ended. The firm says poor financial results and the state of the coal market are forcing it to make marked savings and hundreds of layoffs. Talks between OKD and union leaders have failed to reach agreement on a way forward.
Meanwhile, Plzeň have been knocked off top spot in the Czech first division by Sparta Prague. After the reigning champions drew with Slovan Liberec at the weekend, Sparta went two points ahead with a 2:0 away win over Znojmo on Monday evening thanks to goals from captain David Lafata and Jakub Brabec.
The authorities in Prague have decided to take action against people urinating in public, Novinky.cz reported on Tuesday. Officials have asked members of the city police to draw up a list of spots, such as tram stops, which are particularly badly affected, the news website said. A police spokesperson said that officers, who can fine those over the age of 15 who urinate in public up to CZK 1,000, have to deal with the problem frequently. Special cleaning agents containing chlorine are used in some parts of the downtown area.
The Dalai Lama says he does not mind the fact that the current and most recent Czech presidents, Miloš Zeman and Václav Klaus, have refused to meet him. Speaking on the last day of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague, the Tibetan spiritual leader said that as he did not have an agenda linked to the Czech government, meetings with such important leaders were not so important. Some Czech politicians have in the past expressed the opinion that supporting the Dalai Lama, who was a good friend of the late president Václav Havel, could damage the country’s economic ties with China.
The Czech Republic’s biggest power company CEZ says it will cut electricity prices for its most commonly used tariff by 15 percent from the start of next year. Customers who sign long-term contracts can receive a reduction of 20 percent. Tuesday’s announcement follows reports that other large power suppliers are also planning to lower their prices. The head of CEZ, Daniel Beneš, told reporters that households that use electricity for heating would save around CZK 5,000 a year.
Viktoria Plzeň are preparing to host England’s Manchester City on Tuesday night in their opening group game in the Champions League, soccer’s most prestigious club tournament. In view of the visitors’ immense wealth the West Bohemian side go into the match as outsiders. However, they will be hoping to capitalise on the European experience they have acquired in the last two seasons and City’s unconvincing form in the Premier League. The other two teams in Plzeň’s group are title-holders Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.
A man released under an amnesty at the start of the year has been given a 12-year jail term for the murder of a homeless Slovak man in Prague. The court heard how Miloš Svozil stabbed his victim to death after getting in a dispute with him and a group of other homeless people in the city’s Podolí district in February. Some 6,500 prisoners were released under a controversial amnesty announced on New Year’s Day by Václav Klaus, shortly before he stood down as president.
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