Czech Airlines, or CSA, the country's national carrier, has begun down-sizing its staff. A plan to restructure the company during the years 2006 - 2008 is responsible for the policy, which aims to get Czech Airlines out of debt. According to CSA, the down-sizing plan will see the departure of approximately 20% of the company's employees, thus about 1100 people of the 5500 that CSA currently employs. In addition, CSA plans to sell two of its Boeing 737 fleet.
Meanwhile, after heavy rainfalls earlier in the week, experts at the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute warn that flooding is expected to affect the central Bohemian region in the coming days. High-alert warnings have been issued for the River Jizera, which is expected to see the worst flooding in over five to ten years, and the River Elbe is also affected. The flood-watch warnings will be in effect until at least Thursday's morning hours, until which time experts expect water levels to continue rising. Continued rains are also expected in parts of Moravia and Silesia, and these should taper-off by mid-week.
President Vaclav Klaus has invited the leaders of all five major Czech
political parties for talks at Prague Castle on Wednesday morning. Mr.
Klaus intends to discuss the current political stalemate with the heads of
the Civic Democratic Party, the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats,
the Communists and the Greens, all of whom are represented in the lower
house. Mr. Klaus plans to speak with each party leader in private before
holding a joint meeting with all to discuss possibilities for a way out of
the post-June election deadlock.
More than two months after the elections, the formation of a government remains unclear and MPs have repeatedly failed to elect a speaker of the lower house—a key step in forming the next government.
Farmers in the Vysocina region between Bohemia and Moravia are busy harvesting grain from fields in danger of flooding. The heavy rains are causing damage to grain and sugar beet crops, as well as to potatoes, which experts say will have an effect on the profits farmers could otherwise expect to yield. Over 145 000 hectares of land in the Vysocina region are devoted to grain crops, while potatoes occupy one-third of agricultural land in the region.
Vodafone, one of the three leading mobile phone operators in the Czech Republic, has introduced a new service for its company-based clients. Starting Tuesday, Vodafone is offering company subscribers access to e-mail, address books and electronic calendars, all via mobile phone services. The new Vodafone service is called Business E-Mail and faces competition from Blackberry offered by T-Mobile, and Office Connector, a service of Eurotel; both of the later have been on the market for more than a year. Vodafone registered 2.26 million clients in the Czech Republic in June, numbering over 11.5 million active mobile phone numbers.
Persistent rain over the weekend and into Monday has raised rivers levels around the country. The most affected regions are southern and northern Bohemia. As meteorologists warn of more rain until Wednesday, children at various summer camps are being evacuated and some areas are on the highest degree of flood alert. Some roads around the River Elbe have also been closed to traffic as the river continues to swell.
Controversial Czech businesswoman Libuse Bartova intends to run for the post of senator. Ms Barkova was sentenced to five years in prison for insurance fraud last year after making false property damage claims following the floods in 2002. Ms Barkova has appealed the verdict. She also made headlines in 2003 when her conversations with then Interior Minister Stanislav Gross and a Defence Minister were caught up in a police wiretap, and it was revealed that Ms Barkova owned a building housing a brothel. In an interview for the commercial radio station Frekvence 1 on Monday, Ms Barkova said she would stand in the Senate elections as an independent candidate.
Meanwhile, the Civic Democrat leadership on Monday said it rejects what it called the Social Democrats' planned reconstruction of the outgoing cabinet and called it disrespectful of the democratic elections two months ago. The leadership also ruled out any form of coalition, including a Grand Coalition, with the Social Democrats. If its plans to form a minority Civic Democrat government should fail, the party leadership supports a temporary caretaker government that would prepare the country for early elections.
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