The Czech energy giant ČEZ is going to take part in the construction of a new block at the Slovak nuclear power plant of Jaslovské Bohunice. The Czech energy producer signed an agreement with a Slovak partner company towards that end in Prague on Thursday. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. The ČEZ energy producer is also planning to build two new blocks at the Czech nuclear power plant in Temelín, southern Bohemia, and another two at a plant in Romania.
The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi has criticized the Czech EU presidency for an alleged lack of authority. Speaking at a business conference in Rome on Thursday, Mr Berlusconi said the European Union was at the moment unable to exercise a lead role in world affairs because there is no one with authority at its helm. US President Barack Obama has no one to call to find out what’s going on, the Italian leader said. Referring to the Czech PM Jan Fischer, Mr Berlusconi said he found it paradoxical that an expert on statistics is now the president of the EU.
Industrial production in the Czech Republic dropped by more than 23 percent in April, according to government figures released on Friday. Experts believe however that Czech industry is already over the worst of the crisis and expect that production will start rising again in the course of the year. In the second half of 2009, Czech industry is also expected to benefit from car scrapping subsidies introduced in several neighbouring countries. On the whole, the country’s industrial production is expected to drop by some 10 percent by the end of 2009.
In related news, PM Jan Fischer, has said that nuclear power is the only
alternative to coal and gas. Speaking at a meeting of the European Nuclear
Energy Forum in Prague on Friday, Mr Fischer said that nuclear power was
also the only way of complying with the Czech Republic’s commitments in
the field of climate protection. The leader of the caretaker government
warned that after 2015, the country may face shortage of power. Mr Fischer
also said that the decision whether to build two new blocks at the Czech
nuclear power plant in Temelín is for the next government to make.
Several environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Sortir du nucleaire left the meeting in Prague in protest; they said that the Czech and Slovak governments only used the venue to present their countries’ nuclear ambitions.
In its third year, the Prague Food Festival kicked off with awards presented to several top Czech chefs in the Czech capital on Thursday. Over the weekend, the festival will offer samples of Czech, Brazilian, French, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisines; some of the best Prague restaurants are participating in the event. This year, the festival will take place on pontoons floating on the Vltava in the historic city centre next to Charles Bridge.
The only Czech patient diagnosed with swine flu is healthy and has been
released from quarantine, a Prague hospital spokeswoman said on Friday.
29-year-old pilot, who contracted the virus in New York, was diagnosed
the disease last week but the course of the disease was mild.
In the Czech Republic, 143 people have been tested for suspected swine flu since the outbreak of the disease; only one case was confirmed and 21 people are still waiting for their tests results. The swine flu virus has been detected in 55 countries around the world so far.
In related news, the ČEZ company is going to pay some 300 million crowns,
or around 15.7 million US dollars, to several municipalities in the
vicinity of the Temelín nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia. The sum
will be distributed among five villages and towns and used to improve
ČEZ is planning to complete another two blocks at the Temelín power plant; if approved by the government, the new blocks will be built on land owned by the municipality of Temelín. The village will receive 100 million crowns, or more than 5 million US dollars, although ČEZ management denied any direct link between the subsidy and the plans to build two new blocks.
The former Czech finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Thursday he was leaving his party, the Christian Democrats, over arguments on party policies and repeated insults by other Christian Democrats. Mr Kalousek’s statement, published on the party website, appeared just hours before the start of a Christian Democrat party conference that will elect a new leader. Mr Kalousek, who served as finance minister in the centre-right government of PM Mirek Topolánek, announced earlier he planned to form a new political party to run in the autumn’s early general election.