President Miloš Zeman is to meet with Social Democrat leader and the country’s likely next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka before the end of this week to discuss the line-up of the new government, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the ctk news agency on Tuesday. He said it was unlikely that the president would name Mr. Sobotka prime minister this week. The president is expected to raise reservations regarding a number of ministerial nominees and the heads of the three parties of the emerging centre-left coalition have pledged to take a united stand in backing the cabinet line-up. The Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats are to sign a coalition agreement on January 6th.
Car accidents in the Czech Republic claimed 581 lives this year, according to preliminary police statistics released on Tuesday. This is the lowest annual death toll on Czech roads since the police began tracking these numbers in 1961. The figure is also a marked improvement from the previous record low last year, when 681 people died in car accidents. The number of victims of car accidents has been steadily decreasing in the Czech Republic since 2007, when there were 1,123 victims.
Czech household debts to banks and financial institutions in November grew by 7.8 billion crowns to 1,210 billion against October, and their annual growth reached 52.6 billion, the Czech National Bank said on Tuesday. Debts of companies posted a rise of 25.4 billion to more than 1,000 billion crowns against the previous month. Year-on-year they rose by nearly 39 billion. One-day deposits of households at banks and financial institutions increased by 2.2 billion crowns month-on-month and by 78.9 billion year-on-year to 1,210 billion.
Vladimir Remek, a Czech MEP for the Communist Party is expected to take up the post of Czech ambassador to Russia in mid-January when he is to hand over his credentials to President Vladimir Putin, the CTK news agency reports. Remek is now preparing for his new post at the Czech Foreign Ministry. The post of Czech ambassador in Russia has been vacant for a year. The last ambassador, Petr Kolář, was withdrawn at his own request at the end of 2012.
A baby girl was placed in the Pardubice babybox early on Tuesday morning, making her the 100 child to be left in a babybox, since the network was established in the Czech Republic in 2005. Doctors said that the baby, who was given the name Ria, was placed in the box about two hours after birth and that the child’s condition was stable. There are a total of 59 babyboxes in different locations around the Czech Republic, and in the past eight years, 60 girls and 40 boys were left in them. The founder of the Czech babybox system, Ludvík Hess, told the press that he has mixed feelings about the 100th babybox child. Although he is happy that so many children were saved, he originally did not expect that there would be such a high number.
Long queues have been forming at local registry offices for motor vehicles as drivers scramble to exchange old licenses for new ones. The deadline for the exchange of licences issued between 2001 and 2004 expires on the last day of 2013, after which drivers will have to pay for a new license and may get fined by the police in the event of a check-up. Many local registry offices have extended working hours over the past week in order to facilitate the process.
The Czech power giant ČEZ has said it will appeal the decision of the Bulgarian energy regulator to cut energy prices for consumers from January 2014. A spokesman for the company said ČEZ was now analyzing projected losses which are expected to be severe. The Bulgarian State Energy Commission this week announced a plan to reduce electricity prices for Bulgarian households by one per cent starting January, at the same time cutting the night-time rate by 10 per cent and electricity prices for industrial consumers by 1.5 per cent. Electricity prices have been a sensitive issue in Bulgaria this year, one of the major complaints behind massive anti-government protests and energy prices have already been reduced twice in 2013 to stave of growing public discontent.
Meteorologists say that in certain parts of the Czech Republic Czechs enjoyed the warmest Christmas in over a century. The monitoring station in Opava, Silesia, measured a high of 8.7 degrees on Christmas Day which broke a 151-year-old record. Přerov reported a high of 9.3 degrees Celsius, the highest in 140 years. Temperatures tend to be higher in the Czech capital where the warmest Christmas ever monitored was in 1983 where the Klementinum monitoring station recorded 14.6 degrees Celsius.
The Czech economy is expected to grow by over 2 percent next year following contraction over the past two years, analysts polled by the CTK news agency said. Global recovery and projected changes to the government´s budgetary policy are behind the favourable prediction. Analysts believe that, despite the central bank´s forex interventions to weaken the crown, inflation will stay low at the start of next year due above all to falling energy prices and unemployment will stay above 7 percent.
Air pollution is reported to have worsened severely in parts of Moravia and Silesia with the concentration of dust particles in the air far exceeding permitted norms at all but one of the 15 monitoring stations in operation. According to data from the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute the concentration of harmful substances in the air is more than three times the permitted norm. The authorities have advised elderly people and children to stay indoors as much as possible. The situation is being closely monitored by city hall which has the right to call a smog alert and ask industrial plants to scale-down production.
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