Hazardous sulphur oxide that leaked from oil lagoons in Ostrava is threatening the health of local inhabitants both in Ostrava and nearby Bohumín, the ČTK news agency reported. According to the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute, the concentration of pollutants exceeded permitted levels twelve-fold over the weekend. Daniel Grůza, deputy head of the Czech Environmental Inspection, confirmed the leak from the oil lagoons saying it had reportedly occurred during a cleaning process. The polluter faces a fine of up to seven million crowns. Sulphur oxides, especially SO2 and SO3, are one of the main air pollutants in municipal areas all over the world. High concentrations of the substance can damage the respiratory system.
The number of bankruptcies declared in the Czech Republic will hit 1,870 in 2011 – an increase of 186 cases compared to the previous year. The news was revealed by the ČTK news agency on Monday, citing a report by credit insurance firm Euler Hermes. In 2012, the number is expected to decrease again but problems in some fields are expected: a member of the executive board stressed uncertainties in the field of construction as well as in steel manufacturing. Electronic goods producers could also face difficulties next year due to heavy competition combined with a drop in consumer demand. According to the study, bankruptcies in the Czech Republic were far lower in 2008, paradoxically just as the country experienced the first impact of the global financial crisis. There were only 1,110 cases that year, the lowest number since 1996.
Czech manufacturing growth showed its weakest result in 21 months in September, an industry barometer has shown. The HSBC Czech Republic Manufacturing PMI was 52.3 compared to 53.4 the previous month – the lowest since the end of 2009. A result over 50 indicates positive overall growth; in its report the HSBC bank said that the PMI fall was related to a slowing of new orders.
A police sweep of bars, restaurants and gambling venues in Rumburk, North Bohemia, at the weekend uncovered 14 cases of abuse of social benefits by recipients, found consuming alcohol or playing slot machines. One of the people reportedly included a 23-year-old mother who had left her four-year-old daughter unattended and asleep at home. The news was revealed by a spokeswoman for the town hall, who said in addition to the 14 cases, four underage drinkers were caught, two of them just 12-years-old.
Those abusing social benefits can’t lose them, sources say, but the authorities can limit funds by issuing smaller amounts on a daily basis. Forty-two police officers and other officials took part in the weekend sweep in Rumburk, a town hit by social strife and increased ethnic tension in recent weeks. Along with drinking establishments, pawn shops were also checked. In all, more than 150 locals were carded.
Jiří Paroubek, a former prime minister and former chairman of the Social Democrats, has confirmed that he will leave the party he led up until the 2010 national election. The Social Democrats came first last year but with a far slimmer margin than had previously been expected, leaving them unable to find a partner to form a viable coalition. The same day, Mr Paroubek stepped down. The former party chairman indicated at the signing of his new book on Monday that his departure was only a matter of days. Earlier it was thought Mr Paroubek would join the extra-parliamentary Czech National Social Party, but there has been speculation in the Czech media he may found a new party on the Czech political scene.
A new poll released by the CVVM agency has suggested that public confidence in the country’s centre-right government has increased to 22 percent after falling to just 17 in June. Confidence in the government, racked this year by a series of potentially crippling scandals that threatened its stability, dropped in June at a time when the smallest party in the coalition party, Public Affairs, threatened to walk out unless an addendum to the coalition contract was agreed. Trust in Parliament is not much higher: just 17 percent in the Chamber of Deputies and 23 in the Senate, the poll suggests. President Václav Klaus remains the most highly-rated among Czech leaders, trusted by 54 percent of respondents. According to the poll, only seven percent of those queried said they were satisfied with the current political situation.
Two masked individuals robbed a bar in Varnsdorf in the Dečín area on Sunday night, threatening the personnel with a piece of timber. The assailants, who could not be identified through their balaclavas, made off with around 32,000 crowns, around 1,700 US dollars. Along with the money, the thieves ordered the bar’s safe to be opened, but ran away after the owner of the venue arrived.
An autopsy has appeared to confirm that a newborn found dead in Tábor in late September was born healthy. Until now the police were investigating the possibility the baby was not murdered but was stillborn. The 29-year-old mother – who had hidden her pregnancy from others in her surroundings – is the main suspect in the case: it is thought that she may have thrown the infant out of the window. The Tábor area has seen six murders so far this year.
A civic association has asked the town of Pardubice, east of Prague, to set aside at least two hectares of grounds which could be used to build an extensive dog-training complex, unrivalled in the country and complete with a cat and dog shelter. The association, called Berserk – K9, is aiming for the centre to be used by both breeders and trainers, and to have a hall for to be used for internationally-certified competitions and exhibitions. The grounds would be paid for from both European and association funds. The civic association has stressed that the centre would create job opportunities for people with disabilities and that some 1,000 dog owners could make use of the facility per month. More than 9,000 dogs are registered in Pardubice alone.
Czech boxer Lukáš Konečný, who was due to face light-middleweight champion Sergei Dzinziruk for the world title on September 30th, has expressed the hope the World Boxing Organisation will vacate the belt after Dzinziruk pulled out of the match at the last minute. The Germany-based Ukrainian fighter cited injury as the reason for calling off the bout. According to some sources if Dzinziruk is stripped of the title, Konečný - the European title holder – could now fight interim champion Zaurbek Baysangurov, a match that could take place by the end of the year.
Uncharacteristically warm weather and sunny conditions are expected to continue throughout much of the week. Daytime temperatures on Tuesday should reach highs of 23 degrees Celsius.