The Czech Under 20s football team arrived home on Tuesday afternoon, laden with the silver medals they won at the Under 20 World Cup in Canada. They were greeted at the airport by Czech PM Mirek Topolanek, who told them that they 'returned as heroes'. The Czech team lost out to Argentina in Sunday's final, after progressing further in the competition than any previous Czech youth team.
The Czech economy is growing faster than expected, the Ministry of Finance revealed on Tuesday. The ministry originally estimated that the economy would grow by 5.3 percent this year, but has now modified this figure to 5.8 percent instead. In March, the Czech National Bank predicted that this year's GDP would be up by something between 4.9 and 6.5 percent. It is set to unveil its new predictions, along with a rise in interest rates, on Thursday.
The Ministry of Defence unveiled plans on Tuesday for an information line to help veterans from the Second World War. The helpline will be operational from the beginning of August. 70 field workers will also be employed to visit veterans in their homes. It is estimated that around 3500 veterans are currently living in the Czech Republic. There are currently two care homes specifically for veterans, in Karlovy Vary and in Prague.
The Czech ambassador to the European Union Jan Kohout will be replaced
before his term ends in May next year, Lidove noviny reported. The
government wants to find a new ambassador to Brussels for the important
period before the Czech Republic assumes the rotating presidency of the EU
in the first half of 2009, the daily said. It is not yet clear who will
succeed Mr Kohout in the post.
The opposition Social Democrats have spoken out against the move, accusing the government of conducting a 'political purge'.
A court in the Bahamas has begun hearing Viktor Kozeny's appeal against a ruling to extradite him to the United States. The fugitive Czech businessman, dubbed 'the Pirate of Prague', is awaiting trail in both US and the Czech Republic on charges of fraud. He is appealing his extradition on the grounds that there is not enough evidence against him for his case to be covered by the extradition treaty that exists between the US and the Bahamas. The hearing is expected to last a week.
The scaffolding covering the Jan Hus monument in Prague's Old Town Square is causing damage to the statue, reported TV Nova on Monday. Rust from the wire mesh which holds advertising in place is falling down onto the stone and dyeing it orange. On Monday, the union of restorers called the situation 'alarming'. The advertising firm which is selling the space has promised to replace the wire mesh with a less corrosive material. The Czech union of conservationists are threatening legal action.
The Czech state-owned rail operator, Ceske Drahy, reported a preliminary profit of 30 million CZK (1.5 million USD) for the first half of this year. A spokesperson for the company predicted that Ceske Drahy would make an overall profit this year, for the first time since it became a joint stock company in 2003. This year, passenger numbers have grown by about two percent, while revenue generated by cargo is up seven percent. Ceske Drahy is the fifth biggest cargo transporter in Europe, moving 90 million tonnes of goods each year.
Two former post office employees have been ordered to pay 1 million CZK (40 thousand USD) to their former employer. Helena Baudysova and Karel Molodcenko were found guilty of professional misconduct during a hold-up of their post office in 1997, during which thieves made away with 28.5 million CZK. The judge ruled against the plaintiff's original request for the pair to pay back the full amount stolen. No one has ever been charged in connection with the robbery.
The Prime Minister's mistress Lucie Talmanova has given birth to his son. Topolanek left his wife for Ms. Talmanova, an mp from his own party, the civic democrats, in January this year. Nicolas Topolanek was born at 16.47 on Tuesday, weighing 3 kilos. His father, Mirek Topolanek, decided last week not to go on a state visit to Africa, so as to be at his son's birth.
The Czech Interior Ministry has asked for more money to repatriate ethnic
Czechs currently living in Kazakhstan. The cost of relocation and housing
was originally priced at around 50 million CZK (2.5 million USD) per year.
However, with more ethnic Czechs emerging, the ministry has asked for a
further 5 million CZK.
The ministry wants to provide a passage for the 170 known ethnic Czechs out of Kazakhstan, as it says that the economic situation, as well as the security of the Czech community in the Central-Asian state, has deteriorated in recent years.
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