The new Czech government is planning to link increases in old age pensions to inflation alone from 2012, Hospodářské noviny reported. The move would mean pensions grew at a slower pace and would save the state CZK 5.5 billion a year, the newspaper said. Currently pension rises are calculated according to both inflation and growth in real wages. The minister for social affairs, Jaromír Drábek, said the government planned to introduce the change as part of broader reform of the pension system. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said tying pension growth to inflation alone should be brought in gradually over several years.
A popular toy from the communist era is set to soon make a return to shops in the Czech Republic. The toy company Efko bought the rights to produce Igráček figures and accessories a couple of years ago, but only recently succeeded in buying the rights to the brand name. A representative of Efko said the toy should be back on the market in about a month’s time. Igráček looks somewhat similar to a Lego man.
A 24-year-old Czech man has been sentenced to life in prison in Ireland for the murder of a young Czech woman in 2008. Jakub Fidler was found guilty of strangling Nicola Vonková (19) to death following a row at a house in Co. Galway about spying on his instant messaging and email accounts. The two had worked together at a supermarket. In a letter read out in court, the victim’s mother said she had survived her child and that was a situation no parent was prepared for.
Speaking at the Visegrad Four meeting in Budapest, the Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, said the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary were strongly interconnected and if any of them had economic or budgetary problems it could affect the other three. Mr Nečas said it was therefore of great importance that all four states make stabilisation of their budgets a priority. He and his counterparts agreed at Tuesday’s talks to improve co-operation in relation to the European Union and with regards to energy security.
The state attorney’s office has shelved the case of a Czech soldier who wore a Nazi symbol while on a foreign mission, Czech Television reported. Jan Čermák was dismissed from the Czech army after newspaper reports that he wore the logo of the SS on his helmet while on duty in Afghanistan. Another soldier was drummed out for a similar offence. The state attorney said Čermák had committed a crime but said his demotion, dismissal and loss of benefits were sufficient punishment.
The security firm ABL says it will sue Social Democrats leader Bohuslav Sobotka if he does not either apologise for comments he made about the company or prove their veracity. Mr Sobotka called on the prime minister to intervene over alleged ties between ABL and several ministries, and warned of possible corruption and conflict of interest. The firm was previously owned by Vít Barta, who is transport minister for Public Affairs, a party that received his strong financial backing. Education Minister Josef Dobeš of Public Affairs is a former ABL employee, as are deputy ministers of transport, education and the interior. An ABL representative said on Tuesday that its former employees who are now in government posts no longer had ties to the firm. For his part, Mr Sobotka says he has no intention of retracting his statements.
The Czech Republic has offered to rent 14 Czech-made Aero L-159 combat aircraft to Hungary’s military. The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, put the proposal to his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban at a meeting on the sidelines of a Visegrad Four conference in Budapest on Tuesday. The Czech and Hungarian defence ministries will now hold talks on a possible deal. A number of other countries have expressed interest in the fighter planes, but to date the Czech air force is the sole operator. The firm Aero Vodochody produced 72 L-159s for the Czech military. It only uses 24 of them; the rest are in storage in hangars.
The American pop singer Pink is playing a concert at Prague’s Eden soccer stadium on Tuesday evening. It is the fourth time the star has visited the Czech capital, with her most recent appearance at the city’s O2 Arena in November last year. Organisers say Pink, who is promoting her album Funhouse, will put on her usual show, despite a recent fall from a stage in Germany.
The wife of former Czech prime minister Jiří Paroubek has lost a legal battle against the publisher of the magazine Reflex over a comic strip depicting the couple. The Supreme Court rejected Petra Paroubková’s argument that drawings of her and her husband in bed were pornographic. The judge handling the case said Mrs Paroubková had herself chosen to enter public life and the depictions did not have the nature of pornography; comics used exaggeration as a device, and this edition of the satirical strip Zelený Raoul was aimed more at her husband than her.
Homes in Western Bohemia have been reconnected to the grid after weekend storms left tens of thousands without power. The worst affected districts were around Karlovy Vary, Tachov and northern Plzeň where high winds downed trees and power cables on Saturday. One person was killed by a falling tree. At one stage around half of the region was without power. Storms also caused flooding in parts of the centre and east of the country with rivers still at flood danger levels around the east Bohemian town Chrudim on Monday morning.
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