Coalition leaders are to debate a demand for more ministerial posts by the junior coalition party Public Affairs. Following a corruption scandal in its ranks the smallest party in government was forced to relinquish two ministries and at its weekend conference party members demanded a stronger representation in the cabinet saying they would not continue to support the centre right government if their role was marginalized.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas said on Thursday morning he was still ready to offer the party the post of deputy prime minister with an anti-corruption portfolio. Party leader Radek John who rejected the offer last month and left the cabinet over an alleged lack of support from the prime minister said he was not interested in returning.
Four employees of the Semtex-manufacturing company Explosia who went missing after a powerful explosion at the plant in April have been officially confirmed dead. DNA tests on remains found amidst the debris reportedly confirmed the identity of the four missing workers. An investigation into what caused the powerful nitro-glycerine explosion is still underway. The blast damaged only part of the building and the factory resumed operation shortly after.
The Czech Republic has registered 1 case of the deadly bacterial infection E.coli, with seven more cases being tested, the country’s chief hygiene officer reported on Thursday. The one confirmed case was that of an American tourist who had recently spent time in Germany. She is reported to be recovering well and is soon to be released from hospital. Two other suspected cases proved to be a false alarm and the national laboratory on Thursday received seven more samples. The suspected cases are from different parts of the country. Test results should be available later today or on Friday.
Laboratory tests have shown that Spanish bio cucumbers imported to the Czech Republic via a German distributer were not contaminated with a deadly E.coli strain. The news comes days after German authorities backtracked on the initial claim that Spanish cucumbers were the source of the mutated E-coli bacteria that has killed 17 people in Germany and Sweden. The firm Country Life that imported the cucumbers said in a statement on Thursday they suspected from the beginning it was a “false alarm”.
The sale of organic food products in the Czech Republic is reported to have dropped by 30 percent in the past week as a result of the cucumber scare. Supermarkets have also reported a sharp drop in the sale of fruits and vegetables and some have started ordering less of those commodities to minimize their losses.
The remains of the Czech solider who was killed in the Afghan province of Wardak on Tuesday will be transported back to Prague on Sunday, the army chief of staff told the CTK news agency on Thursday. The condition of two other soldiers who were injured when their vehicle hit a landmine is reported to be stable. One has been transported back to Prague where he is getting treatment at the Prague Military Hospital, the other is recovering in a hospital in Logar. Doctors say it is not yet clear if he will be able to return to his post.
The Club for Old Prague, an NGO for the preservation of the city’s historic monuments, has called a demonstration in protest of the planned demolition of a protected building on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Opponents of the plan are to meet outside the building at 5pm on Tuesday. The decision to tear down the building on Wenceslas Square has met with a great deal of opposition, not least because the building is protected both by the City of Prague and UNESCO. Proponents of the demolition say that continuous remodelling of the building have left nothing of the original 19th century structure and that the building is not a cultural monument. The demolition is planned for this November and a nine-storey office and commercial building is to be constructed in its place.
The Czech government has earmarked over 800 million crowns for foreign aid in 2012, the same amount that was set aside for this year. Close to 700 million is to be used for aid projects in the developing world, 73 million is to be set aside for emergency humanitarian aid and the rest for so-called transition projects in aid of countries which are undergoing a transformation from an autocratic regime to democracy. Czech aid is now channeled to Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Cambodia among others.
City transport workers in Ostrava are on strike for a second day in protest against low wages. Trade unions have been pushing for an eight percent pay rise but the transport company is not willing to go higher than 3 percent. The company employs 2,000 people whose average monthly wage is 22,000 crowns. Trade unions have warned that they will not let up the pressure until they get a positive response. Talks with the city transport company and city hall officials have dragged for over six months.
A female white rhino, one of the world´s last surviving northern white rhinos, died in Dvur Kralove zoo last week, the ctk news agency reported Thursday. Vets say her ailing health and advanced age were responsible. The zoo now only has one female rhino left. It transported another four animals, two males and two females, of the critically endangered species to the Ol Pejeta reserve in Kenya in December 2009 as part of an international effort to save the dying breed in its natural habitat.
The coming days are expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures at around 25 degrees Celsius.