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Social Democrat leadership scraps Duchcov party branch over cooperation with extremists

The Social Democratic Party leadership has scrapped one of the party’s local branches over cooperation with extremists. The party’s executive leadership on Saturday voted to abolish the party’s local branch in Duchcov, north Bohemia in reaction to the fact that following local elections in October it formed a coalition with the ultra-right Workers Party of Social Justice. Social Democrat leader and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the party branch had been scrapped for acting at variance with the party’s policy program and its values. Mr. Sobotka said the Social Democrats were opposed to forming a coalition on any level with parties of a racist and fascist character such as the Workers Party of Social Justice.

More explosions shake munitions depot

More uncontrolled explosions are reported to have taken place at the Vrbetice munitions depot overnight. According to a police spokeswoman close to twenty lighter explosions were registered at the site in the late hours of Friday. A storage facility of the grounds was levelled by a massive explosion in mid-October scattering ammunition all over the site and pyrotechnics experts have so far been unable to bring the situation under control. Over one hundred and fifty soldiers are now at the site to undertake clean-up work and provide security. The depot was leased by a private company engaged in weapons trade.

New allergy labelling legislation goes into force across the EU

As of December 13 new EU legislation will require food businesses to provide allergy information on food sold unpackaged, for example in catering outlets, deli counters, bakeries and sandwich bars. There are also changes to legislation with respect to labelling allergenic ingredients in prepacked foods. The changes include a minimum font size for mandatory information, which is 1,2mm.

ČEZ confirms planned closure of coal-burning plant in Varna

The Czech power company ČEZ has confirmed that it will temporarily halt operations at its coal burning plant in the sea port of Varna, Bulgaria as of the beginning of next year after it failed to bring the plant up to EU environmental rules. ČEZ said it had been denied an exemption by the European Commission and the plant cannot continue to work without an environmental upgrade after December 31st. With a generating capacity of 1,260 megawatt, the plant serves as a back-up to the national power grid and the Bulgarian authorities have stressed the importance of keeping it in operation, pointing out it could become a much needed source of energy if Bulgaria were to be hit by a gas crisis.

Olomouc referendum on gambling ban invalid due to low turnout

A referendum held this Saturday on whether to ban gambling in the town of Olomouc has been declared invalid due to a low turnout. The turnout was a mere 8.2 percent with just 6,689 people taking part. Of those 6, 389 voted in favour of a ban. Paradoxically 9,000 townspeople signed a petition for the referendum to be held.

Light of Bethlehem comes to the Czech Republic

The light of Bethlehem, traditionally brought to the Czech Republic from Vienna by a group of scouts, is due to arrive in Brno just after 6.30 pm on Saturday. In the course of next week it will be taken to key destinations around the country and placed in churches and institutions from which people can take it to their homes. It will also burn at the Czech Radio building on Vinohradská street in Prague. The tradition of bringing the light of Bethlehem to the Czech Republic started in 1990 a year after the fall of communism.

Police detain man suspected of attacking, robbing women in Ostrava

Police in Ostrava say they have detained a man who is suspected of having attacked and robbed three women in the city in the last few weeks. The 18-year-old reportedly owned up to the attacks saying that he was in financial straits. He has been charged with robbery and attempted rape. If convicted he would face a jail sentence of up to ten years.