US president Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev might arrive in Prague next Friday, to sign a treaty on nuclear disarmament, according to news reports. A Czech TV correspondent in Moscow said on Friday that Russian TV crews received unofficial instructions from the Kremlin to apply for Czech visas and book live feeds from Prague for that day. While the Kremlin press office told Czech Radio that Helsinki and Geneva are also being considered as possible venues, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said that the choice of Prague was unlikely.
The United States and Russia are finalizing a new nuclear disarmament treaty to replace the START II agreement from 1993 which will expire on Saturday. Negotiations about the new treaty started after President Barack Obama outlined his nuclear disarmament policy in a public speech delivered at Prague Castle in April this year.
A poll by the CVVM agency released on Friday shows that 65 percent of Czechs believe the post-war Beneš decrees which legalised the expulsion of some three million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia should remain valid. Two years ago, only about 50 percent of Czechs held the same opinion. 47 percent of Czechs also believe that the expulsion was just. The decrees put out by President Edvard Beneš still remains a sensitive issue in the Czech Republic.
In a reaction to Nazi atrocities during war, around three million German citizens of Czechoslovakia were stripped of their nationality and expelled from the country between 1945 and 1947, while their property was confiscated. It is estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 Germans were killed in the process.
Czech health authorities began distributing a second batch of 72,000 swine flu vaccines around the country on Friday. Health Minister Dana Jurásková ordered selected vaccination centres to give the vaccines to children over 10 years of age with serious health risks. However, many Czech patients and physicians remain sceptical and refuse the vaccines.
Social Democrat, Christian Democrat and Green MPs proposed a bill in the lower house on Friday that should see the country’s CO2 emissions cut by 50 percent by the year 2050. The move comes just days before the UN summit in Copenhagen is set to tackle the issue. A Social Democrat environment expert said the goal can be reached by increasing the output of Czech nuclear power plants, energy savings and producing heart from renewable sources.
The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic has risen by 4.8 percent year-on-year to over 23,000 crowns, or more than 1,360 US dollars, in the third quarter of 2009, according to government figures released on Friday. It is the highest rise in average salary in the last two years. Analysts believe the rise was caused by companies letting go employees with low salaries and by a lower rate of sick leave. The highest increase was registered in the field of electricity, gas and heat production and distribution, where the average salary rose by more than ten percent. By contrast, the salaries in the hotel and catering industry dropped by 1.2 percent in the third quarter of this year.
After running an expensive nation-wide recruitment campaign, the Czech police cannot afford to hire any new officers, the police human resources director Roman Fidler said on Friday. The campaign entitled “Serve and Protect”, which ran from April to June this year, cost around 20 million crowns, or nearly 1.2 million US dollars. Some 10,000 people applied but the police had to stop hiring new employees and return funds for the new positions due to budget cuts. The police will not hire any new officers but will only replace those who leave, Mr Fidler added.
Trade unions in the Hyundai car manufacturing plant in Nošovice in the north-east of the country are considering going on strike over poor working conditions and having to work overtime, a trade union spokesman said on Friday. Union leaders met with the plant management on Friday and said they would submit their demands at the start of next week. They said however that they would declare a strike alert on Monday.
Some 400 employees of the Hyundai plant in Nošovice went on an unofficial hour-long strike on Wednesday, and the plant’s trade unions later backed the action.
Six in every thousand websites with the Czech domain .cz are infected with malware and spam, according to a survey by the antivirus firm McAfee released on Friday. It is estimated that there are around 500,000 websites with the .cz domain.
Sparta Prague lost to PSV Eindhoven 0:1 in a UEFA Europa League’s group stage game in the Netherlands on Thursday. The only of the match came in the 91st minute when Sparta captain Tomáš Řepka scored an own goal. While PSV qualified for the knock-out stage, Sparta will have to beat Copenhagen in the last game to go on.
Czech Tomáš Berdych lost 5:7, 0:6 and 2:6 to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the Davis Cup final in Barcelona on Friday. Berdych did not surprise the strong favourite and world number two Nadal and only put up little resistance.
In the other single scheduled for Friday, Czech Republic’s Radek Štepánek will face David Ferrer. The Czechs are generally considered underdogs but the Czech team’s captain Jaroslav Navrátil believes the clash will be decided in Saturday’s doubles.
The weekend should be overcast with fog. Light rain is expected in places, with highest daytime temperatures of around 5 degrees Celsius.