The Czech interim government will consider abolishing limits imposed on brown coal mining in north Bohemia, Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok said. Speaking during a visit to the northern Most region, Mr Rusnok said the limits were obsolete and threatened to increase unemployment in the region. The mining limits were imposed in the early 1990s to protect some north Bohemian communities from destruction. Proposals to abolish them have since been regularly discussed among Czech politicians and industry leaders.
Arraignments against the wife of former prime minister Petr Nečas and military intelligence officers she is alleged to have ordered to spy on his former wife will not be ready until January at the earliest, the head of the police’s organised crime unit, Robert Šlachta, told Thursday’s edition of Mladá fronta Dnes. Jana Nečasová (formerly Nagyová) is accused of directing three senior figures in the country’s military intelligence service to monitor Mr. Nečas’s then wife, with the revelations in part leading to his resignation as prime minister. Mr. Šlachta said there had been delays in gathering evidence in the case though he did say that it pointed to a deep-rooted system of clientelism.
The Irish low-cost air carrier Ryanair will resume flights from Prague to Dublin and London, the airline said in a press release on Thursday. Beginning in April, Ryanair plans to operate five weekly connections between the Czech capital and Dublin; flights to and from London Stansted should be scheduled every day of the week. The company hopes to annually transport 180,000 passengers on the two connections. Ryanair stopped offering these connections in 2010, after Prague airport refused to lower its fees for the low-cost airline.
The firm MND has started seismic exploration of potential deposits of oil and gas in south Moravia, the company said in a press release. MND, a subsidiary of the investment group KKCG, has invested over 200 million crowns in the operation, and hired the German firm DMT to do the job. Seismic surveys will take place in an area of some 150 square kilometres near the town of Mikulov, and should conclude next April, the company said.
The Czech Transport Ministry will next year open access to its public transport timetables database, the website lupa.cz reported. The ministry has drafted legislation that will end the monopoly of the firm Chaps which has been administering the database since 2001. The ministry has come under criticism for allowing the monopoly to continue; the Czech anti-monopoly agency has also launched a probe into allegations the Chaps company allegedly abused its dominant position. The company runs the popular website IDOS which offers online searching for municipal, bus and train connections.
Trading firms’ obligation to check their business partners’ VAT records has won the Absurdity of the Year award, the organizers said on Thursday. The respective legislation, which came into force last year, was supposed to curb tax evasion. However, critics say the state in fact transferred its responsibility for tax collection onto private companies which have to make sure their business partners have paid the value added tax. If they fail to do so, the companies face the risk of themselves having to pay VAT for their business partners. The 7th annual Absurdity of the Year awards also highlighted the fact that the Czech authorities reject tax returns in the pdf format.
A Norwegian TV series set in the time of the Second World Ward has begun filming in Prague, a Czech film production company said. The show entitled The Heavy Water War focuses on the secret development of Nazi nuclear weapons; it stars, among others, the British actress Anna Friel. The Czech production firm said filming in Prague would take 40 days; the producers are to spend 95 million crowns in the Czech Republic out of the show’s total budget of 275 million.
Czech hockey forward Rostislav Olesz has signed a contract until the end of the season with Swiss club SC Bern. The 28-year-old player leaves the NHL after having played 10 games for the New Jersey Devils this season but was later sent to their farm team. Rostislav Olesz comes back to Europe after eight years overseas where he played for the Florida Panthers, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the New Jersey Devils.
The head of the ANO party, Andrej Babiš, is involved in negotiations over the purchase of the Czech Republic’s most listened to radio station, Impuls, Hospodářské noviny reported, quoting the billionaire businessman. Mr. Babiš also said that he would like to work with the leading operator of regional radio stations, Media Bohemia. He already owns Mafra, which publishes the newspapers Mladá fronta Dnes and Lidové noviny, and is behind a free weekly magazine, 5plus2.
The Social Democrats and ANO want three positions between them in the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies, the latter’s chairman, Bohuslav Sobotka, confirmed on Wednesday. The two groupings are in talks, along with a smaller player, the Christian Democrats, on forming a new coalition government. One party would get the post of speaker while the other would get two deputy chairmanships in the lower house, Mr. Sobotka said. The matter should be clearer after a further round of coalition talks set for Saturday.