Finance Minister Andrej Babiš told Czech Public Television on Sunday that civil servants would get a two percent wage rise in 2014. The finance minister denied claims that he was against wage increases this year, saying that police officers would get an additional 1.4 billion crowns for wage hikes and the creation of a thousand new jobs.
The Prague Transport Authority has indicated there may have been irregularities in the construction of Prague metro’s A line to Motol. The Prague Transport Authority is conducting an internal audit into the construction which is still underway and according to unofficial sources the building company in charge of the extension may have failed to call public tenders on some of the work undertaken. The head of the PTA Jaroslav Duriš said on Sunday the results of the audit would be made public within two weeks. He said some irregularities have been uncovered though they were not as serious as presumed earlier. The extended A line to Motol should open to the public in early 2015.
President Miloš Zeman is to pay a state visit to Russia in the second half of this year, according to the new Czech ambassador to Moscow Vladimir Remek. The ambassador said the visit, which is currently being planned would include talks with Russian President Putin, government officials and the country’s business leaders. President Zeman is expected to travel to Sochi next week to attend the Winter Olympics on which occasion he will attend a reception for visiting heads of state hosted by the Russian president.
The central banks forex interventions against the Czech crown have sent the price of food products up by ten percent and more with an increasing number of people now heading abroad to do their weekly shopping, novinky.cz reports. Basic food products are now reported to be cheaper in Poland, Slovakia and Germany, with people saving up to a 1,000 on a shopping trip. The internet news site says that many milk and meat products are significantly cheaper in Germany despite the fact that German wages are significantly higher –the average monthly wage in Germany is around 3,700 euros while the average Czech monthly wage is just around 900 euros.
Thousands of Czechs are becoming increasingly dependent on social networks, the internet news site novinky.cz reports. Although the Prague clinic for addiction treatment has never actually treated anyone with this diagnosis, psychologists say they frequently encounter the problem in patients with other additions. Psychologists say that people who are at risk of developing a social network addiction usually devote more than 6 hours a day to this activity at the expense of other social contacts.
Czech cyclo-cross champion Zdeněk Štybar won the world championship in Hoogerheide, the Neatherlands, on Sunday bagging his third gold medal in the discipline. The Czech racer already owns six world championship medals – he took two world titles as a U23 rider, plus bronze (2008), silver (2009) and two golds (2010, 2011) in the elite category.
Defending champion Czech Republic reached the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup on Sunday after Tomas Berdych won the first reverse singles to clinch the first-round tie 3-1. Berdych, an Australian Open semi-finalist, dispatched Thiemo de Bakker 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 on an indoor hard court at CEZ Arena. Seeking their third straight Davis Cup title, the Czechs won the 10th consecutive Davis Cup series. They will travel for the April 4-6 quarterfinal to Japan, which beat Canada 4-1 in another first-round tie.
Czech EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fulle says the EU has not closed its doors to Ukraine but the country’s drawn out crisis must be resolved ahead of an association agreement with the EU. In an interview for Czech Radio Mr. Fulle said that if the EU wanted Ukraine’s transformation then it should offer Kiev an association agreement and eventually EU membership since enlargement was the strongest transformation tool available. He said however that further steps in this direction were not possible until Ukraine found a lasting and democratic solution to the present crisis.
New screening technology is enabling EU airports to roll back the tight restrictions on passengers carrying liquids, aerosols and gels in their carry-on luggage. The heightened security measures, effective as of February 1st, are in line with an EC directive. Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport has acquired 18 stationary and two mobile scanners for gels and liquids worth ten million crowns. A spokesman for the airport said the new checks have not led to significant delays or caused any problems.
Clean up work is underway in north Bohemia where hurricane-force winds damaged roofs and uprooted trees on Friday night. Fire crews were called out to deal with twenty-three emergencies in the course of the night and emergency crews have been clearing fallen trees from roads and rail tracks. A hurricane warning remains in force for the eastern parts of the country until Sunday morning.