The Czech Foreign Ministry has put on hold plans to build a new Czech embassy building in Washington D.C. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Jiří Schneider the final decision on the project must be made after the general elections by a government with a strong mandate. The former centre-right government had planned to invest half a billion crowns into a new embassy building which would also serve as a cultural centre. The caretaker administration had started looking into the project and claims that the final cost could double. Building work, which was to have started early next year, is likely to be postponed.
The Libavá military training zone in the Olomouc region will open its doors to the public for the second time this year for one day on Saturday 24 September. The zone will be open to cyclists and hikers who are interested in exploring the paved roads and almost untouched wilderness in Libavá. Around 3,700 people attended the White Rock event in the spring of this year and the organizers received very positive feedback. Cyclists will be able to ride on more than 100 kilometers of bike routes, while other visitors may walk or take advantage of a minibus provided by the organizers of the White Rock event. Similar open door days have been held at Libavá since 1994.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Zeman has said he will not delay the dissolution of the lower house once the motion is approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The president told Czech Television on Saturday that he had no reason to procrastinate in dissolving the lower house and calling early elections. He made the statement amid speculation that he might try to keep the Rusnok caretaker administration in office for as long as possible. Deputies are to vote on the dissolution of the lower house on August 20th, after which the proposal will be submitted to the president.