The Czech unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in September from 8.6 percent in August, extending an almost continuous decline over seven months, official data showed on Friday. Labour offices had over 500,000 job seekers in their files at the end of September, 1,000 fewer than in August. There are currently 14 job applicants per vacancy on average. The unemployment rate in the 10.5 million strong Czech Republic has been falling gradually since it hit 9.9 percent in February.
Only 52 percent of Czechs are currently satisfied with the country’s membership in the European Union, according to the results of a survey conducted by the STEM polling agency. STEM says there has been a significant drop in the EU approval rating down from 66 percent in January of 2009. During the country’s EU presidency a full two-thirds of Czechs said joining the EU had been a good decision.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has warned the public about the dangers of using the Miracle Mineral Supplement which can be purchased over the internet. The supplement is presented as a miracle cure for a wide spectrum of serious illnesses ranging from AIDS to hepatitis. It promises to cleanse the blood of bacteria, viruses and fungi leaving the body regenerated. The Food Inspection authority says that tests have shown the substance to contain chemicals dangerous to health – such as those used to clean swimming pools – and taking the substance as prescribed could result in intestinal damage.
Moravský Krumlov has once again banned the relocation of Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic to Prague. It issued a restraining order banning manipulation with the collection of 20 large canvases on the grounds that Prague had no right to the paintings since it had failed to fulfil the painter’s condition to build a new pavilion for them. The tug of war over the paintings has continued for some time with Moravský Krumlov, which has housed the works of art for the past 50 years determined to do everything in its power to keep them. As the paintings were being packed for transport local citizens turned out to demonstrate against their removal. The controversy is likely to go back to court which cancelled a previous restraining order in September.
German police are questioning a Czech and a Slovak national who are suspected of a number of bank robberies around the country. The two were arrested after attempting to rob a bank in Hamburg. They had no permanent address and the daily Bild says they may have committed other crimes than the said bank robberies. Neither of them was apparently employed and they moved around the country in order to cover their tracks.
Czech Interior Minister Radek John and his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere will meet in Prague in a few weeks time to discuss a drawn-out controversy over road checks that Czech drivers are subjected to by German police. Hundreds of Czechs have written to the ministry to complain about their treatment at the hands of German – particularly Bavarian -police who subject them to checks of personal items and a body search. Some have reportedly been asked to give urine samples. Czech authorities say this contradicts the spirit of Schengen and have repeatedly asked German officials to put a stop to it. Germany says it is standard policy in the fight against border crime.
The opposition Social Democrats are calling for the resignation of Interior Minister Radek John of Public Affairs. Social Democrat shadow interior minister Jeroným Tejc said Mr. John had shown himself to be woefully incompetent and lost all credibility in the eyes of policemen and firefighters through his attitude and statements regarding next year’s salary cuts. The opposition party has for some time fed speculation that Radek John is merely a puppet in the hands of his close party associate, Transport Minister Vít Bárta, former owner of the biggest security agency in the country.
Police have charged Slovak-born singer Dara Rolins of manslaughter through negligence. The singer’s car collided with a motorcyclist who died a few hours later of his injuries. Rolins claims she was not speeding and was driving in her lane when the accident occurred. If found guilty she could face up to three years in prison.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel on Friday welcomed the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, whom he praised as an "active citizen." Mr. Havel championed him for the award in recognition of his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. When last December, Liu was sentenced to 11 years behind bars for “subversion”, Vaclav Havel a former dissident playwright who also spent years in communist prisons, staged a protest outside the Chinese embassy in Prague.
The fifty crown banknote is to be gradually taken out of circulation and will no longer be valid as of April 1st of 2011. A spokesman for the central bank announced on Friday. The fifty crown coin will remain in circulation. The bank’s decision was based on economic considerations since coins are much more durable than notes. The fifty crown reddish banknote bearing a picture of Agnes of Bohemia can be exchanged at central bank outlets until 2017.