Prices of flats in the Czech Republic increased by 5.6 percent year-on-year in the fist quarter of this year, according to the latest data published by the Czech Statistical Office. The price growth slowed down a bit in the capital, with prices increasing by 4 percent, but accelerated in the rest of the country. The average price of a new flat last year stood at about 20,500 crowns per square metre (1,300 US dollars).
The Green Party threatened to leave the coalition in case Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek didn’t fulfil his promise not to transform the teaching hospitals into joint-stock companies. The party made the statement at the meeting of the national council on Saturday. The Chamber of Deputies last week voted down a bill aimed at blocking the transformation of teaching hospitals into joint-stock companies, a proposal put forward by shadow health minister David Rath. Prior to the move, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek promised that neither the health ministry nor the government would transform the hospitals into joint-stock firms.
A record 202,000 people visited museums and galleries in Prague during the fifth annual “museum night” on Saturday. Fifty-one institutions took part in the event, organised by the National Museum. Admission was free at all venues between 5 pm and midnight and the capital’s transport authority laid on extra buses that ferried people between the museums and galleries.
Social Democrat deputy chairman Bohuslav Sobotka is against the sale of Prague's Ruzyně airport operator Letiště Praha. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Sobotka said the government should either lease the airport for a long period of time or it should only sell part of the company. Prague mayor Pavel Bém, on the other hand, argues that direct sell-off of the whole share in a tender would raise the chances of getting a good price. The government decided in June to sell the whole company to a strategic partner.
Czech president Václav Klaus is a lone voice among the EU leaders with his stance that Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty means the end of the project, BBC has reported. According to BBC, the Czech president’s views will probably resonate with many European voters who didn’t get a say in a referendum. While most EU countries top politicians have expressed their support for the continuation of the ratification process even after the Irish rejected the treaty, Mr Klaus has welcomed the decision, calling it “the victory of freedom and reason over artificial elitist projects and European bureaucracy.”
The Czech national football team will face Turkey in their final group A match at Euro 2008 in Geneva on Sunday. The Czech Republic will have to beat Turkey to advance to the quarter-finals. In case of a draw, the match will be decided by penalties, as both teams currently have the same amount of points and the exact same goal record.
Around one hundred far-right extremists gathered in the north Bohemian town of Děčín on Saturday. The demonstration was officially announced as a protest against legalization of drugs. The group marched from the railway station to the city centre, carrying black flags and banners. The march was accompanied by several dozen police officers to prevent clashes with anarchists. Three people were detained on the grounds of disturbing public peace. The event had been approved by the town authorities.
The national council of the Green Party criticised their ministers at their meeting on Saturday for supporting the Czech-US treaty on the planned US radar base on Czech soil. The party’s national council said the Environment minister Martin Bursík and Minister for human rights and minorities Džamila Stehlíková acted at variance with the congress resolution. According to unofficial information, Education Minister Ondřej Liška was the only Green cabinet member to abstain from the vote on the radar base.
The 45th international television festival, Golden Prague, opened in at Prague's Žofín island with a concert on Saturday night. The festival will run until June 18 and focuses on music and dance on the television screen. Golden Prague is one of the oldest television festivals in the world. Some 100 contributions from 22 countries are participating this year.
Czech President Václav Klaus has welcomed Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty in a referendum held on Thursday, calling it “the victory of freedom and reason over artificial elitist projects and European bureaucracy.” Mr Klaus noted that Ireland was the only EU country to allow its citizens to express their opinion and said the result should be a clear message to everybody. “The Lisbon treaty project ended today with the decision of the Irish voters and its ratification cannot be continued,” he said in a statement. The Czech head of state has repeatedly expressed his reservations about the text of the Lisbon treaty and his doubts about further development of the EU.