This year, up to half of the Czech Republic’s spruce tree population
could be infested by bark beetles if the current crisis scenarios end up
happening, Environment Minister Richard Brabec said at a meeting of Central
Bohemian mayors on Tuesday. The spruce is the country’s most common tree,
making up more than half of all woodland in the country. According to Mr.
Brabec, 500,000 hectares of forest are now at risk.
The bark beetle has become a serious problem for Czech woodland in recent years, because of the increasingly hotter, dryer climate. Spruce trees are most at risk from bark beetles and the fact that they tend to be planted in large woodland monocultures makes the problem worse, experts say.
Czech opposition parties say they have enough signatures to call a no-confidence vote against the current government, the leader of the largest parliamentary opposition party, Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats, said at a press conference on Tuesday. The vote is expected to be scheduled for some time next week. The reason for the vote is a preliminary EU audit last month found Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to be in a conflict of interest and suggested the Czech Republic return hundreds of millions of crowns in EU funds. Mr. Fiala stated that the prime minister has been damaging the Czech Republic’s reputation abroad.
A district court in Hradec Králové on Tuesday acknowledged the right of
the family of aristocrat Karel des Fours Walderode to property confiscated
on the basis of the Beneš decrees in the post-war period.
Walderode’s widow Johanna Kammerlander has since 1992 been fighting to regain control of family assets in north Bohemia valued at around 3 billion crowns. Following the district court ruling, upholding a preliminary decision of 2017, hearings could take place regarding around 1,400 individual properties.
Due to his German nationality, des Fours Walderode lost his property in 1946 under the Beneš decrees. The family had their Czechoslovak citizenship returned the following year, but the Communists took power before the assets could be returned. After emigrating in 1948, he again lost his citizenship.
David Pastrňák, a 23-year-old forward for the Boston Bruins, has been
named Czech ice hockey Player of the Year for a third time in a row, in an
Pastrňák narrowly edged out Tomáš Hertl of the San Jose Sharks in the poll. Placing third was Jakub Voráček of the Philadelphia Flyers, fourth was David Krejčí of the Boston Bruins, and in fifth Michael Frolík of the Calgary Flames.
In 2017 Pastrňák was the youngest ever recipient of the Golden Hockey Stick award, now in its 51st edition. Jaromír Jágr has won the award the most times of any player, with 12 to his name.
Criminal charges of corruption have been filed against more than 30 people,
mainly Prague 1 officials, over the sale of city-owned flats at below
market rates, the news server ListZprávy.cz reported on Tuesday.
Among the accused are former Prague 1 district mayor Oldřich Lomecký and his then deputy Daniel Hodek, who are alleged to have voted to sell off apartments cheaply for personal gain, the news server writes.
According to an expert opinion commissioned by the police, more than 20 city flats were sold below the market price, resulting in lost revenues of some 40 million crowns.
Social Democrats party chairman Jan Hamáček told journalists on Monday
that his party could withdraw from the coalition government if its senior
partner ANO votes to elect far-right journalist Michal Semin to the council
of state news agency ČTK.
Semin, who has blamed American elites for the 9/11 terror attacks, heads the ultra-conservative movement Akce DOST. Last week, the Federation of Jewish Communities protested against his candidacy, citing his alleged anti-Semitic statements
His candidacy for the ČTK council was proposed by the far-right opposition Freedom and Direct Democracy party. It was also backed by ANO deputies in a first-round vote earlier in June.
Hamáček said that Semin was an “unacceptable” candidate. If ANO voted to support him in the second round on 20 June, there would be no point for the Social Democrats to continue in the coalition government, he said.
Later on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who founded ANO, said his party had not supported Semin’s candidacy and would not back him in future. He said he did not understand why Hamáček said otherwise, calling it “a nonsense”.
The Czech Republic’s producer price inflation slowed in May after rising
the previous month, according to data released by the Czech Statistical
Office on Monday.
The producer price index rose 3.8 percent year on year in May, slower than 4.3 percent increase in April. The biggest increase was in ‘electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning’ prices, which rose by 8.6 percent annually in May.
Prices of ‘mining and quarrying’, and ‘food products, beverages and tobacco’ rose by 7.5 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. Among the main industrial groupings, energy prices grew the most, rising 8.1 percent in annual terms.
The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra announced on Monday that its planned tour
this September of China will not take place.
It said that Chinese authorities had postponed the concert tour indefinitely, without explanation. But earlier, they had threatened to do so over statements made by Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) in support of Taiwan and Tibet.
After being elected mayor in November, Hřib reportedly pushed to remove a clause in a sister-city agreement between Prague and Beijing stating that Taiwan is Chinese territory, in line with the Communist country’s “One China” policy.
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra was due to tour China from 17 September to 5 October.
Directors of all Czech Centres, agencies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
charged with promoting the country abroad, are now holding their annual
week-long meeting in Prague.
Topping the agenda are preparations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in November.
Czech Centre directors will also discuss a new programme strategy to effectively highlight accomplishments of Czech scientists, deepen cooperation with foreign universities, and teach the Czech language abroad.
There are 24 Czech Centre branches around the world, including its headquarters in downtown Prague and the Czech House in Moscow. Last year, they organised more than 2,000 events (exhibitions, fairs, lectures and presentations), receiving more than 2.8 million visitors.
The Ministry of Defence is looking to spend nearly 1 billion crowns to
replace the country’s ageing fleet of tanks and 2.3 billion crowns to buy
two military transport aircraft.
Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar is expected to present details to the government on Monday about the proposed purchases.
The MoD wants to buy 33 tanks of the T-72M4CZ variety, an upgraded Czech version of the Soviet-made T-72 battle tanks, and two new CASA C-295MW transport aircraft. The order price includes spare parts and training.
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Study: Demand for new flats in Prague set to keep outstripping supply
“There is good, better and then there is the USSR.” – New book depicts life in communist Czechoslovakia through memories of people who experienced it
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
“The only solution is political” – Organisers of major anti-government protests in Czechia announce plans for the future