The cost of outsourcing services in some Czech ministries has increased by up to 90 percent in the past two years, the Supreme Audit Office reports. An audit into the finances of the trade, environment and regional development ministries has revealed a significant increase in the use of outsourcing in all three institutions. The Audit Office says that in many cases ministries paid agencies millions of crowns to do work that should rightly have been done by ministry employees. This includes drafting bills and preparing tenders for which the ministries have teams of specialists in respective departments.
TOP 09 deputy chair Miroslav Kalousek has said his party’s main rival in the next general elections will be the Social Democrats, who he claims are increasingly falling under the influence of President Miloš Zeman. Mr. Kalousek said he believed the president would try to use his influence in the party to try to introduce a semi-presidential system in the Czech Republic, something TOP 09 was determined to prevent. TOP 09 chair Karel Schwarzenberg has likewise expressed the view that the country’s parliamentary democracy is at threat from the president and said that in view of the weakened position of the Civic Democratic Party, TOP 09 is the only force on the right able to stand up in its defense.
A secondary school student from Prague has won the gold medal in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 at the 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Washington. Jiří Houžvička beat contenders from 81 countries to win the title and collected a five thousand dollar reward. Although still at school he says he sometimes lectures teachers on how to use Power Point in the classroom.
The young Czech woman who was killed by her boyfriend in India suffered a brutal assault preceding her death, the Times of India reported on Sunday. According to the paper, an autopsy on the body of the 24-year-old revealed a large number of stab wounds, some of them fatal, and indicated that the woman had most likely been thrown against a wall with considerable force. The woman’s 19-year-old boyfriend has reportedly owned up to the murder. The motive of the crime is unclear.
Parties left and right of centre represented in the lower house have urged the Rusnok caretaker government not to undertake any more far-reaching decisions during its time in office. In a televised debate on Sunday representatives of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09, the Social Democrats and the Communists criticized the Rusnok administration for making radical decisions before testing its support in the lower house and in the light of its recent defeat in a confidence motion urged it to refrain from similar actions in the coming weeks. One of the cases in point discussed was a decision on the lease of Gripen fighter planes for the Czech military.
A new large farmers’ shop is to open in Prague’s Vodičkova street on Wednesday, according to David Kukla founder of the Association of Czech farmers’ shops. Mr. Kukla also unveiled plans to open the first two farmers’ supermarkets in the country next year. They should be located in Prague and Brno within selected shopping malls and be approximately 300-400 square meters in size. According to David Kukla open air farmers’ markets are over their zenith and only those with a good location and wide selection of goods will survive.
Economists suggest the longest recession in modern Czech history may be over. The results of the second quarter, which are to be officially announced on Wednesday, reportedly indicate a GDP growth of 0.6 percent quarter-on-quarter. In the first quarter of this year the economy contracted by 1.3 percent Q/Q, the steepest drop since the recession started. According to analysts the recession, which lasted for six straight quarters, is over but the economy may continue to feel the after-effects for another 18 months.
A forty-two-year-old parachutist has died of injuries suffered in a hard landing at a training base in Klatovy. The man crashed from a height of 100 meters sustaining what doctors said were critical injuries. He was airlifted to the Plzen teaching hospital where he died several hours later. It is the second such accident in Klatovy in the space of one week. The accidents are being investigated.
Ex-president Václav Klaus has ruled out his further involvement in Civic Democratic Party affairs. Responding to speculation that he could help the party he established in 1991 and headed for over a decade overcome its present crisis, Mr. Klaus told journalists his return was now out of the question. He said that the party had strayed from its course and in order to overcome its problems it needed to make fundamental changes both in ideology and leadership. In recent years Mr. Klaus has had a problematic relationship with the party he founded, giving up his membership in 2008 over disputes with his successor.
The former prime minister, Petr Necas, has employed his former chief of staff Jana Nagyova, as his personal assistant, according to Saturday’s edition of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes. Although the spying and corruption scandal in which she is alleged to have played a central role brought down his centre-right government Mr. Necas has stood firmly by his chief of staff with whom he is now in an open relationship. The Office of the Government terminated Jana Nagyova’s work contract on Friday. She will not be receiving any severance pay.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st