Prime Minister Petr Nečas has rejected plans to select a new head of the police force put forward by Interior Minister Radek John. He said they were a travesty, would result in a complete mess and were the last thing the force needed now. The prime minister said it was ridiculous that the future police chief would in part be selected by those lower down the hierarchy. Mr. John announced Tuesday that a 10-member committee will decide on a successor to Oldřich Martinů, the police president who stepped down at the end of December. The minister said on Thursday that he was sticking by his plan in spite of the criticism.
Two of the places on the selection committee were offered to former interior ministers: Martin Pecina and Frantíšek Bublan, both members of the opposition Social Democrats. But the party has since rejected the invitation. So far two people have publically expressed interest in the job: deputy police chief Ivan Bílek and Deputy Interior Minister Viktor Čech.
The Czech trade balance in November stood at 11.8 billion crowns according to figures released by the statistical office on Thursday. Exports rose 21 percent over the month compared with November 2009 but imports climbed by 24 percent. This resulted in a 2.7 billion crown shrinking of the surplus year on year. Experts also expect the trade surplus for the whole of 2010 to shrink by between 20 billion and 30 billion crowns. Part of the reason for that is the surge of imported material during the year to feed the boom in solar power plants.
A group of architects, architectural historians and urban planners have called for a long term development plan to be drawn up for the capital city Prague. For the moment and in the recent the short term and individual aims of politicians have dominated. The call has been made by a newly created organization, For a New Prague. Copies of organisers’ call has been sent to every member of the recently formed city council. Prague citizens had the impression that everything and nothing was permitted in the capital because there were was no clear conception, the letter said.
New car sales climbed by almost five percent in 2010 as demand picked up from the depths of a year earlier. Total sales rose 4.7 percent to total just over 169,000 cars, according to the Association of Car Importers. Overall sales of cars and light vehicles was down by 0.15 percent, largely due to a tax change that removed advantages for companies buying light vehicles. The biggest car seller on the local market, Škoda Auto, saw sales soar by 11 percent to just over 53,000 last year.
Police are investigating an incident at a hospital in Kolín in east Bohemia in which a patient may have attempted to kill another, either through strangulation or smothering. Detectives have not yet revealed whether the case will be investigated as attempted murder. In conflicting reports, the police said the incident happened in the intensive care unit, while the hospital claimed it took place in a regular hospital ward. The head of the Kolín hospital, Gabriela Uriková, stressed that the incident was unusual but said the man targeted had not been in real danger. All the same the hospital decided to contact the authorities.
An unseemly fight has broken out over the reward for the first born of 2011 awarded by the northern city of Ústí nad Labem. The mayor of the city decided to award the 20,000 crowns to the second mother that gave birth in the city after the first decided to give her child for adoption. But that mother has now had second thoughts about adoption and says she should get the prize money. Questions have also been raised about how the city authorities knew about her original adoption decision which should have been secret.
The Spanish manufacturer of metal automotive components Gestamp has said it hopes to build a plant on ten hectares of land in the Triangle industrial zone near Žatec, northeast Boehmia. The firm would like to sign a contact with the region of Ústí nad Labem through the firm Mediolope, a regional spokeswoman said. If the project goes ahead, the plant will provide some 300 jobs, she said. According to reports, the investor in the project would like to see construction on site begin in 2011, with production beginning next year. The Triangle industrial park is the site of a former military airport; others involved in the area include US machinery giant Caterpillar and the Panatonni company, which is set to build a hall for the production of plastic auto parts.
Top members of the leading left of centre opposition party, the Social Democrats, apparently received millions of crowns connected with the privatisation of brown coal mining company, Mostecká Uhelná Společnost, the daily Dnes reported on Thursday. Recipients of the pay offs 11 years ago had one thing in common, it wrote: connections with top Social Democrat and former prime minister Stanislav Gross. The paper said the evidence of payments stemmed from documents sent to the chief state prosecutor in answer to help demanded for a Swiss investigation into the privatization.
A member of the Czech Dakar Team injured when his Tatra truck crashed in the Dakar Rally on Tuesday is recovering after having undergone surgery; according to reports he was not paralysed in the accident as some had feared. Jaroslav Lamač suffered torn nerve endings and two broken vertebrae in the crash. He was operated at a hospital in Salta, Argentina. Fellow racer Martin Kolomý also suffered damage to his spine in the accident but will be able to return to the Czech Republic for an operation. The third crew member, David Kilián, escaped without injury.
In tennis, Czech player Petra Kvitová has reached the semifinals of the season opening Brisbane tournament. She beat Slovak Dominika Cibulková 6:0, 6:4. In the next round she faces Russian player Anastasia Pavlychenkova who beat Czech player Lucie Šafářová in the previous round.
Freezing conditions will continue until Thursday with a sharp thaw expected to start on Friday. Daytime temperatures will rise as high as three degrees Celsius.