Daily news summary News

22-02-2011

PM calls for end to violence in Libya

Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Tuesday called for an immediate end to violence in Libya. Mr. Nečas said the use of force against the civilian population was a gross violation of human rights that has no place in the civilized world. The prime minister said the Czech Republic was shocked by the brutality of the regime to civic demonstrators. The statement came just hours after Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg sharply rejected media allegations that the Czech Republic supported the Libyan leader despite the bloodshed. The foreign minister said he had been misquoted by the EU observer after saying that EU politicians should not interfere in the country’s internal affairs and leave matters in the hands of the country’s inhabitants.

Czechs in Libya reported to be unharmed

The Czech Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that as far as it could ascertain there are currently some thirty Czech nationals in Libya and all are reported to be safe. A spokesman for the ministry said that any Czechs who wanted to leave the country should be able to get on regular flights out or would be put on special flights sent out by other governments.

Court postpones ruling on austerity package

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday postponed indefinitely a ruling on the government’s austerity package for 2011 pushed through Parliament in a state of legislative emergency. The court has been dealing with a complaint filed by the opposition Social Democrats who question the validity of the respective laws on the argument that there were no proper grounds for calling a state of legislative emergency at the time. The government resorted to the move shortly after the Senate elections in which the governing parties lost their majority in the upper chamber and the opposition threatened to block the bills. A spokesman for the court said on Tuesday that the court required further analyses and more time for deliberation.

German rail strike delays international trains

A two-hour strike by German train drivers resulted in delays of international trains running though the Czech Republic, a spokesman for Czech Railways said on Tuesday. Express trains bound from Berlin to Budapest, from Hamburg to Villach and from Amsterdam to Prague were reported to be close to two hours late. Knock-on delays were expected throughout most of the day. The strikers are demanding that rail companies accept a nationwide collective labour contract regardless of which rail company they work for. No further protest actions have been planned for the time being.

Polish president continues two-day visit

On the second day of his visit to the Czech Republic Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski on Tuesday met with Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas for talks on energy security, bilateral investment and coordinating the countries stands on EU issues ahead of the alliance’s March summit. The Polish president is also due to visit the country’s largest oil refinery in Litvínov which is owned by a Polish firm. President Vaclav Klaus is holding a dinner in the Polish president’s honour at Prague Castle on Tuesday night.

Farmland used for genetically modified crops dwindling

Farmland used for growing genetically modified crops in the Czech Republic was down by a quarter in 2010 from 6480 to 4680 hectares, according to statistics published by ISAAA, a global knowledge centre on crop biotechnology. The report says that last year´s fall in the Czech Republic was one of the biggest ever. A fall was also registered in the whole of the EU, where the area for genetically modified crops decreased by 13 percent on average in 2010.

Petr Fejk appointed rail ombudsman

Czech railways have established the post of rail ombudsman for quality control, who will be responsible for passenger comfort. The position is to be filled by Petr Fejk, former head of the Czech Cultural Centre in New York. Mr. Fejk will deal with complaints from the public and provide employee training.

NERV says state institutions could share activities to cut costs

The Czech government’s economic advisory council NERV has recommended that state institutions share some activities like wage offices and acquisition of information technologies, in order to lower their operation costs. The council says that one wage office could cater to all ministry employees and that the purchase and sale of public property could also be made from a single centre.

Prague offers good price/performance ratio

Prague offers the fifth best price/performance ratio among world capitals, according to a poll published by the international hotel reservation server hotel.info. The winner among world capitals is Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The poll was conducted at the beginning of 2011 among hotel guests who had booked accommodation in one of the 210 000 hotels offered at hotel.info. According to a poll comparing Czech cities only, Prague was beaten by Plzen, west Bohemia. They were followed by Jihlava, south Moravia, Marianské Lázně, west Bohemia and Ceske Budejovice, south Bohemia.

Four people face corruption charges over football match fix

Four people were charged on Tuesday with bribery in a Czech top football division match fixing. Prosecutors in Olomouc, in the east of the country, accused a former goalkeeper of the local football club Sigma Olomouc, Petr Drobisz of giving bribes while the former president and two ex-players of the Bohemians Praha club were charged with accepting bribes. The incident allegedly took place in May 2009 when then Olomouc’ goalie Petr Drobisz allegedly offered members of the Prague club 300,000 crowns for letting his team win. The then head of the Prague club, Karel Kapr, told his player to accept the bribe as he would inform the police about the incident. However, he only contacted the police several months later. Olomouc won the game 3:0 and secured a spot in UEFA’s Europa League.

Weather

The Czech Republic has been hit by an extremely cold spell with day temperatures dropping to minus 6 degrees Celsius and nighttime lows reaching minus 17 degrees in places. A warming is expected over the weekend.

22-02-2011