The Office for the Protection of Personal Data has fined Czech Post for monitoring the routes of postal delivery workers using devices equipped with GPS technology, Czech Television has reported. While the fine was a token CZK 80,000, the country’s postal service operator has changed its practices, no longer employing blanket monitoring of employees in the field and processing the data acquired differently, Czech TV said. Czech Post said it had introduced the system so as to be able to investigate complaints from clients who said delivery staff had not rung at their door when attempting to deliver a parcel. A spokesperson for Czech Post said it now used a system under which they can monitor whether deliverers reached a certain point a certain time.
Police in Prague are searching for the parents of a small girl who was abandoned in the centre of the city on Saturday night. The father of the child, who is believed to be around two years old, left her with some homeless people on the city’s main thoroughfare, Wenceslas Square, saying he would come back in five minutes. However, he did not return. The homeless group gave her to a passer-by, who called the police. Officers have appealed for information but also said they had a good idea of the identity of the father.
Czechs and Slovaks have held an annual celebration of brotherhood on Mount Velká Javořina, which is on the border of the two states. Hot weather attracted several thousand people from both sides of the frontier to Sunday’s event, which was the 21st in succession, honouring the two nations’ shared past. One Slovak man told the Czech News Agency that he had run into two former colleagues that he had not seen since the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia at the beginning of 1993.
The ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr, who is 41, has said he may play for the Czech Republic at next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi. However, the website iSport.cz quoted Jágr as saying he would only go to the Games if the coach wants him and he feels that he ranks among the best Czech players; he said he did not want anybody to believe he was only called up because of his name. The right wing, who was part of the Czech team that won Olympic gold at Nagano in 1998, recently joined the NHL club the New Jersey Devils.
Around 150 students of the Czech language from around the world have gathered in Prague for the Summer School of Slavonic Studies. The course, which is being held for the 57th time this year, is organised by the Institute of Czech Studies at the Arts Faculty of Charles University. Alongside language classes, it includes cultural events and day trips. An accompanying symposium entitled The Czech Language in the World and the World in the Czech Language will be attended by around four dozen leading Czech studies experts from around the globe.
The hot weather which the Czech Republic has experienced since last week is set to continue. According to a monthly forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday, temperatures in the period between July 29 and August 25 should be above average, while the coming week will almost certain see above thermometers recording relatively high values for the time of year. The forecasters say that rainfall levels will be average or below average in the next month.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman on Friday halted the prosecution of three former MPs charged with bribe taking. The three former Civic Democrat deputies were accused of having agreed to quit their seats in the lower house in return for posts in state-run firms. Last month, they were taken into custody in a police operation that led to the fall of the government. But last week, the Supreme Court ruled their alleged offences were covered by their parliamentary immunity. The case now returns to prosecutors who should decide on further action. The prosecution of the ex-prime minister Nečas’s chief of staff, and of another former official, charged in the same case, can go ahead after minor modifications, according the Supreme State Attorney.
The head of the Czech antitrust office Petr Rafaj has rejected an appeal lodged by the French company Areva against its exclusion from a multi-billion crown tender on the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia. The decision confirms an earlier verdict made by the antitrust office. The Czech power utility ČEZ, which operates the plant, excluded Areva from the tender in October of last year, on the grounds that the submitted bid contained serious errors. Areva has filed several unsuccessful appeals against its exclusion. The bidders that remain in the running are the Czech-Russian consortium Mir 1200 and the US-Japanese company Westinghouse. ČEZ, which was expected to announce the winner of the tender in the autumn of this year, has said it would postpone the decision by at least a year.
The Czech government has extended the so-called solar tax, introduced in 2010 to balance high buying price of photovoltaic electricity. The 26-percent tax was to end at the end of the year; however, the government decided to extend it for years to come, lowering it to 10 percent. The decision has drawn criticism from owners of photovoltaic plants who say a series of government measures aimed at driving down the costs of solar electricity has greatly diminished the profitability of the industry.
Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov is eying the Czech division of Telefónica, the biggest telecommunications firm on the Czech market. In an interview for the Bloomberg news agency, Mr Yevtushenkov said Telefónica Czech Republic was on his list of potential acquisitions in the telecommunications industry. The indebted Telefonica has been considering selling its Czech division for months; Czech tycoon Andrej Babiš has also expressed interest in buying Telefonica’s Czech branch.
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