The Culture Ministry has declared the famous Maj building in Prague a cultural monument. The building, the ministry says, is an important example of 1970s architecture - drawing on earlier styles like Functionalism but its interior foreshadowing the style known as High-Tech. Maj was designed by architects Miroslav Masak, John Eisler and Martin Rajnis of the Liberec SIAL studio and was completed in 1975. Most foreign visitors will be familiar with the Maj building located on the city's Narodni trida street: it's the site of the Tesco department store.
Outgoing Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says he knows of a member of parliament who is being pressurised into voting for a Social Democrat government. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, he said he could not reveal the MPs name or party. Mr Topolanek already suggested in a radio interview on Monday that three Christian Democrat MPs are either being put under pressure or bribed to support a Social Democrat government in a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament. The acting head of the Christian Democrats, Jan Kasal, has ruled out the possibility.
Several Czech women's organisations are opposed to building a US anti-missile base in the Czech Republic, fearing it would increase the risk of terrorist attack. The women are reacting to the Czech Republic being one of several countries in Central Europe named as a potential site of such a base. The protesting organisations' representatives say a referendum should be held before a definite decision is made. Opinion polls suggest that three fifths of the population would vote against the US base.
The five parliamentary parties continue to hold differing views on the country's political future and will have to tone down demands if government negotiations are to be successful. This according to President Vaclav Klaus, after meeting with Communist Party representatives on Tuesday. Following the failure of the Civic Democrats to win a confidence vote for their minority government, Mr Klaus faces the task of entrusting someone to try to form a new government. The Czech President intends to hold talks with each parliamentary party and wait for the results of the second round of the Senate elections this weekend before he makes the decision.
The lower house of Parliament has approved a proposal to postpone the obligatory use of monitored cash registers by one year. All cash register activities of small businesses were to be recorded and monitored as of January 2007 in order to help the government fight against the grey economy. Under the new law, those small retailers and restaurants that fail to comply could be fined up to half a million Czech crowns.
Organised crime groups, influential businessmen, and suspected terrorists
are all threatening the country's security, according to a
counter-intelligence service (BIS) report. The annual report for 2005 says
there is evidence that organised crime groups are trying to influence
courts, several entrepreneurs have bribed state employees to gain
confidential information, and there is reason to believe that terrorists
had planned an attack on the Czech Republic.
Last year, for example, three Egyptian nationals failed to enter the cockpit on a Czech Airlines flight from Oslo to Prague. The BIS did not view it as a failed hijacking but a move to test flight security for a future terrorist attack. The three men have been deported back to Egypt.
Frantisek Frolich and Vladimir Korner have been awarded the annual state prize for translation, and literature, respectively. 62-year-old Frolich, a specialist in English and Scandinavian languages, has translated drama and prose into Czech, including works by Karen Blixen, Hans Christian Andersen, August Strindberg and Harold Pinter. 70-year-old Vladimir Korner, who received the prize for literature, is the author of numerous well-known Czech novels as well as screenplays. He is perhaps most highly regarded for Valley of the Bees, made into a film by the late Czech filmmaker Frantisek Vlacil. The state prizes for literature and translation are worth 250,000 and 125,000 crowns and are presented by the Culture Ministry.
Prague's Lord Mayor Pavel Bem is likely to retain his post for a full term, that is, the next four years, after his party, the Civic Democrats (of which is also a deputy chairman) won a resounding victory in Prague in municipal elections at the weekend. In Prague, the Civic Democrats clinched more than 54 percent of the vote, and will hold 42 of 70 seats at city hall. The result means that the Civic Democrats could govern alone as a majority; nevertheless Mr Bem has not ruled out a broader coalition.
The Office for the Protection of Competition has approved state subsidies for Hyundai's planned car plant in northern Moravia. The information was released by a representative on Monday. According to Hyundai's contract with the Czech Republic, the company will be eligible to receive subsidies of up to 2.4 billion crowns - the equivalent of around 106 million US dollars. The plant - as well as up to fifteen suppliers - could then receive an additional 2.5 billion crowns towards creating new jobs and introducing re-qualification programmes for employees. According to the office the state subsidies are fully in-line with EU norms, but the subsidies will still need to be approved by the European Commission.
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