The European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana spoke in Prague at the start of a two-day conference of parliamentary foreign affairs chiefs from the 27 member states. The conference in the lower house focuses on the security and economic dimensions of transatlantic relations. Solana later met with Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg. They agreed joint actions in Afghanistan should be one of the issues covered during US President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to Prague starting April 4. The final agenda depends on US proposals, Schwarzenberg said. Solana also stressed the EU should not wait until Iranian presidential elections in June to launch negotiations.
Czech president, Václav Klaus, has spoken at what has been described as the largest ever gathering of climate change deniers in New York, The Guardian newspaper, reported. Mr Klaus was among the opening speakers on Sunday evening at a conference entitled Global Warming: Was it Ever Really a Crisis? The president said European governments were alarmist on climate change and wanted to put mankind back several centuries. He is due to make another speech on climate change and the world economic crisis at Columbia University today before flying back to Prague.
Czech unemployment rose to 7.4 percent in February from January’s 6.8 percent with the number of jobless capable of seeking work rising to 416,621. The figures from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs are worse than expected. Analysts had predicted the unemployment rate would climb to between 6.9 and 7.1 percent. Meanwhile, the annual inflation rate fell in February to 2.0 percent from January’s 2.2, the lowest level since March 2007, according to the Czech Statistical Office. But analysts warn that the biggest slide in inflation could be over and the weaker crown will push up some prices, such as for fuel.
Baník Ostrava football fans arrived in Prague for what is seen as a high risk match against top of the table Slavia Prague. Some fans were removed from one train heading for the capital at Česká Třebova after disturbances broke out. Police said around 40 fans were involved but the railway put the figure at around 150. A ticket inspector was taken to hospital with injuries. Around 500 police were on duty outside the Prague stadium for the late afternoon clash which ended in a 1-0 victory for Slavia. Foreigners’ police on trains checked identity papers in a bid to weed out Polish fans of the Ostrava club, who are known as troublemakers.
Brno city councillors have been set an end 2010 deadline to carry out urgent repair works on the UNESCO recognised Villa Tugendhat. If repairs to the roof, terraces, a plumbing are not carried out by then the building could be taken away from the care of city, the local paper, Brněnský deník, reports. The villa is the only modern Czech building included in UNESCO’s list of cultural heritage sites. A long awaited reconstruction by city authorities has been stalled by a dispute with the firm originally contracted to oversee it.
Oloumouc’s high court has confirmed a series of punishments delivered in the high profile Kuřim case concerning the mistreatment of two brothers, Ondřej and Jakub. The regional court in October handed out a nine year sentence on the boys’ mother and 10 years for their aunt as well as sentences of between five and seven years for three accomplices. The high court did not deliver a verdict on Barbora Škrlová, a woman connected with the family at the centre of the case. She duped Czech authorities into thinking she was a young girl and then fled the country to Norway and pretended she was a boy.
The Czech Republic has climbed to 26th position on a worldwide ranking of locations where travel and tourism can be developed best. The placing in the 2009 travel and tourism competitiveness survey by the World Economic Forum represents a jump of four places compared with 2008. The first three places were occupied by Switzerland, Germany and Austria, unchanged from a year earlier.
Czech director Jiří Menzel’s film “I served the King of England” has been selected as the best European film screened last year in Romania. The award followed polling of around 400 film professionals in the country. Menzel’s adaption of the novel by Bohumil Hrabal made its debut at the end of 2006 and has already won a series of awards.
The country’s biggest porcelain producer, Karlovarský Porcelán, has a high chance of finding a buyer, the company’s insolvency manager, Tomáš Čermín, said following a meeting with creditors on Monday. Mr Čermín said there was interest in nearly all the company’s production and sites. Creditors should assess offers within a week and then decide on a new owner by the end of the month. The company was declared bankrupt by a court in October last year.
We can expect bright spells with some rain or snow over the next few days. Temperatures are set to reach a maximum of 7 or 8 degrees Celsius.