Martin Jahn, former deputy PM and director of the CzechInvest agency, will become the general director of the Volkswagen Group in Russia in April. Mr. Jahn, who is 38, has been on the board of directors of Škoda Auto, a member of the Volkswagen Group, since 2006. Volkswagen, the largest car maker in Europe, opened a car factory in the Moscow area last year; it is expected to produce up to 150,000 Volkswagen and Škoda models by 2009.
The Finance Ministry raised on Thursday its estimate of the Czech economy growth for 2007 from 5.9 to 6.1 percent. The Ministry said that the Czech economy is reaching the climax of the economic cycle and beginning to confront its limits set by the lack of a qualified workforce. The Ministry also estimates that the country’ economic growth in 2008 will be 4.7 percent, which is lower than the originally estimated 5.1 percent. This will be due to fiscal reforms adopted by the government last year which are expected to cause a drop in consumption.
Several members of the European Parliament in Brussels have criticized the
US plan to position parts of its missile defence system in the Czech
Republic and Poland. Green MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit said on Wednesday that
the plan to site a radar base in the Czech Republic and ten intercepting
rockets in Poland would have a serious impact on the security of the entire
European Union. The missile defence system is bad, said Mr Cohn-Bendit, and
will have counter-productive consequences. Jan Marinus Wiersma, the deputy
chairman of the EP’s socialist fraction, said that the missile shield
does not fit the European security strategy.
In related news, the Czech Republic was criticized by the European Parliament for failing to address the issue of a pig farm constructed on the site of a wartime Roma concentration camp. Czech authorities say they don’t have the funds needed to remove the farm and erect a memorial to the Roma victims of the camp.
A vet in Česká Lípa, North Bohemia, refused on Thursday to treat an injured police dog which died as a result. The town’s municipal police approached the vet after the dog was hit by a car. The veterinary declined to treat it because his car had been towed by the police in December last year. The police filed a complaint about the incident vet with the regional veterinary authority; the animal doctor is facing a fine and a disciplinary action.
A member of the Prague municipal police who stabbed a US citizen to death in Prague on Wednesday has been charged with murder. The 27-year-old officer, who was drunk and off-duty when the incident happened, reportedly attacked the 44-year-old American after a fight broke out over they way the victim had parked his car.
The Czech Defence Ministry will resume negotiations with the Austrian arms
producer Steyr on the delivery of armoured personnel carriers for the Czech
Army, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said on Wednesday. If no agreement is
reached by March 5, the government will initiate another public tender for
a supplier of the APCs. The government withdrew from the original contract
with Steyr for 199 APCs in December last year due to the failure by the
Austrian manufacturer to meet conditions in the deal.
In related news, the Finnish weapons producer Patria has offered to supply the Czech Army with its own armoured vehicles. The Finnish manufacturer said that the first 30 armoured vehicles could be delivered within three to four months.
The Constitutional Court rejected on Thursday the first of several complaints filed by the opposition Social Democrats about the fiscal reform package adopted in 2007. The strongest opposition party had asked the Constitutional Court to abolish the reform act because they believed it was adopted in violation of the constitution. The Court rejected the complaint saying that no law was breached. The verdict diminishes the chances for success of other complaints about the fiscal reform as the Constitutional Court will no longer be reviewing the legislative procedure leading to the adoption of the reform bill.
Czech Railways transported 181.9 million passengers in 2007, which was one million more than in the previous year. The company’s management attributes the rise in the number of passengers to the modernization of the railways cars as well as the financial convenience of this type of public transport. Despite the modernization programme, the obsolete car park remains the Czech Railways’ most serious challenge.
Czech prostitutes are hired to work in British brothels, CNN reported on Wednesday. A CNN reporter posing as a British brothel owner interested in hiring prostitutes for work in Britain contacted the management of several Czech brothels in and around Teplice, North Bohemia. They offered the undercover reporter two girls for several thousand pounds and a percentage of their earnings in Britain. One of the Czech brothel owners indicated that he had previously supplied a girl to work in a brothel in Manchester.
President Václav Klaus has called the EU climate package a ‘tragedy’. In an interview for the German financial daily Handelsblatt on Thursday, Mr Klaus said that the set of regulations adopted by the European Union in an effort to tackle climate change is a ‘tragic mistake’. The President hopes that the Czech and other EU countries’ governments will stand up against these ‘bureaucratic ideas’. Mr Klaus also challenged the idea of thawing icebergs, saying that it only happens in films by Al Gore. The former US vice-president, according to Václav Klaus, represents a threat to freedom.
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