Tom Waits is set to play his first ever concert in Prague, within a tour called Glitter and Doom. The American singer will perform on Monday and Tuesday at Prague’s Congress Centre. Tickets for the two concerts were available only via the internet with the name of the buyer printed on the back side. Visitors will have to bring an ID or a passport to prove their identity. The tickets for both concerts are already sold out.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to renew crude oil deliveries to the Czech Republic, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday. Russia had unexpectedly cut deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline earlier this month by nearly 50 percent. Moscow said the cut in supplies was caused by technical problems and denied that it was linked to the signing of a Czech-US treaty on the positioning of a US missile defense radar on Czech soil. The main Czech refiner Unipetrol started tapping state oil reserves and increased deliveries through the Ingolstadt pipeline to make up for the outage.
The Czech crown broke a new record on Monday morning, when it traded at a rate of 22.96 crowns per Euro. The crown later settled at around 23.00 crowns per Euro. The crown has strengthened by more than 11 percent since the beginning of the year, gaining almost 19 percent over the past 12 months. Czech exporters have warned that the continuing rise of the crown will undermine the economy's still solid growth.
A court in Darjeeling, India has refused to release on bail two Czech bug hunters who were arrested last month for collecting rare insects. Emil Kučera and Petr Švácha are believed to have collected several hundred specimens and each faces up to seven years in prison. The Indian press has suggested that the Czechs could belong to an international network of butterfly smugglers. The researchers defended their actions by saying they had no idea they had been within the boundaries of a national park. The Czech scientific community reacted to the case by circulating a petition in support of both suspects. It was signed by more than 500 people and presented to the Indian prime minister.
Environment Minister Martin Bursík said on Monday he agreed with the proposal to build a small dam on the river Opava in North Bohemia, which is designed to prevent the nearby towns of Krnov and Opava from floods. The project involves flooding about fifty houses in the nearby village of Nové Heřminovy, whose inhabitants will have to move out to make way for the dam. After meeting with the mayor of Nové Heřminovy on Monday, minister Bursík promised to provide funding for the municipality’s further development as well as compensations to the owners of the flooded buildings.
The five-year project designed to attract foreign specialists to work in the Czech Republic that was to be completed in July will continue, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Nečas has said. The project allows educated foreign specialists from 12 countries as well as foreign graduates of Czech secondary schools and universities to settle in the country with their family within a shortened legal deadline. They can obtain a permanent residence permit for two and a half years. Altogether 1,138 people mainly from the Eastern Europe have joined the programme so far and 226 have obtained permanent residence permits.
Croatia could be admitted to the European Union on the basis of the Nice treaty, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has said on Monday, rejecting the view of the current EU presidency that the union could only be enlarged after the ratification of the Lisbon treaty. Mr Topolánek said that the document approved in Nice in 2000 counted on inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania, adding that a formal extension of the treaty would also allow for the admission for Croatia.
One in ten adult Czechs is listed in the debt register, according to the latest survey by the Solus association, which administers the country's largest debt register of 22 banks and leasing providers, and three mobile operators. Solus reported 678,000 debtors in late June, which is a 41% increase since last year.
Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer is considering opening the way for people with health problems to work in the police force in an attempt to fill about 5000 vacancies, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. The police force lacks mainly computing and DNA experts, who frequently fail to pass the strict medical requirements. According to Minister Langer, this kind of work requires experts, not champions. He added that the criteria for posts requiring physical prowess will remain unchanged. The new regulations will take effect as of next year.
Conditioning the ratification of the Lisbon treaty by the approval of the treaty on the location of a US radar base on Czech soil is unacceptable, deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Lubomír Zaorálek has said in reaction to Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s previous statement. Mr Topolánek said earlier this week that the rejection of the radar agreement might negatively affect the approval of the Lisbon treaty. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Zaorálek, member of the opposition Social Democrats, said it was scandalous to trade one treaty for the other. Senate chairman Přemysl Sobotka, on the other hand, said that linking the two agreements was logical.
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