President Václav Klaus has called for the dismantling or radical restructuring of the International Monetary Fund. Speaking at a conference in Prague, the Czech president, a former liberal economist, said the IMF was “a barbaric relic from the Keynesian and fixed-exchange rate era” and pointed out that it was not answerable to anyone for its activities. Mr. Klaus, who is perceived as a staunch Eurosceptic, also criticized the European single currency, saying that while the euro would survive its current crisis, Euro-zone members would inevitably pay a very high price for it.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is expected to arrive in Prague on Wednesday for a brief working visit. His talks with his Czech counterpart Petr Nečas are expected to focus on bilateral relations, Hungary’s upcoming EU presidency in the first half of 2011 and the two country’s positions regarding the proposed EU budgetary regulations aimed at increasing fiscal responsibility within the alliance. The Hungarian prime minister will hold talks in Prague just two days after a visit by the Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radičová, which covered similar ground.
Half of Czech households do not have financial reserves for more than 3 months, according to the outcome of a survey conducted by the STEM agency. Eight percent of households could not survive a month after losing their main source of income. And a full quarter of Czech households have serious problems repaying their debts. The survey suggests that while two thirds of Czechs save part of their income on a regular basis, the amount saved has dwindled to an average of 2,600 crowns a month and many households have to delve into their savings to make ends meet.
The leader of the Civic Democrat’s Brno branch Robert Kotzian has said he is strongly opposed to the idea of a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, following his party’s defeat in last weekend’s local elections. Robert Kocian is pushing for centre-right coalition on the city council with TOP 09 and the Christian Democrats, a move that would push the Social Democrats who won the most votes in the country’s second biggest city into opposition. The Civic Democratic Party is to debate both alternatives on Wednesday.
The head of an NGO for children at risk has criticized the police for failing to alert the media about a missing child. Zuzana Baudyšová, head of the Prague-based foundation Our Child, said the police had bungled the search for an 11-year-old girl who failed to return home from school last Wednesday and has been missing since. She said the police had not activated the early warning system put in place last spring which would have involved radio and TV stations in the search and possibly provided valuable information from the public at a time when speed was essential. A police spokeswoman has rejected the accusation, saying everything possible had been done on a regional scale and a nationwide search had been launched early on Thursday. Police found the child’s schoolbag but her disappearance remains a mystery and no demands have been made on her parents.
Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr is on the list of outstanding Czechs who are to receive a medal of honour on occasion of the country’s public holiday on October 28, the daily Lidové Noviny wrote on Tuesday citing a source close to the president. Every year on the anniversary of the founding of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918, the president awards state distinctions to outstanding personalities for merit and lifelong achievement. Although the list is kept secret some names are inevitably leaked to the press. Jágr’s father confirmed having heard about the honour, but said he was not sure if his son would be able to attend the ceremony in person since the Russian hockey league was still underway. Jaromír Jágr, who has played for Russia’s Avangard Omsk since 2008, is regarded as one of the greatest Czech hockey players of all time.
A planned five-day charity visit to Prague by the former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has been called off because of poor ticket sales. The 44-year-old Tyson was due to arrive in Prague today and was to have stayed until Saturday engaging in a number of charity sessions expected to raise money for a Prague children’s hospital. The Swiss promoter of the event said the tickets had turned out to be too expensive for the local market. It would have cost 2,000 euros to train with the former champion and 120,000 euros to have dinner with him.
TOP 09, the party which won the local elections in Prague last weekend, says it will not force the town of Moravský Krumlov to give up Alfonse Mucha’s Slav Epic until Prague has fulfilled the terms of the artist’s legacy and built a special pavilion for the collection of 25 paintings. The head of TOP 09’s Prague branch František Laudát said his party disapproved of the undignified tug of war over the paintings, in which the city’s former leadership ordered their forcible removal to the capital - a move that was thwarted by the local administration in cooperation with the company that owns the chateau where the collection was housed. The outgoing Civic Democrats say too much money has been spent on the collection’s relocation for the plans to be abandoned. Talks are expected to continue this week over the make-up of the next Prague city council.
The Czech government has decided to postpone a tender on the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant by a year. After Tuesday’s meeting of the Security Council Prime Minister Petr Nečas said the cabinet would issue the documents for bidders in 2011, receive bids in 2012 and pick the winner in 2013. He said the tender may also result in no one being picked. The Temelin nuclear plant in south Bohemia now runs two 1,000-megawatt units. Three potential bidders have expressed interest in building another two units at the plant: the US company Westinghouse, a grouping of Russia's Atomstroiexport and Gidropress with the Czech Skoda JS, and France's Areva.
Passenger car and light utility vehicle output in the Czech Republic grew by 13 percent year-on-year to 803,846 units in January-September this year, the Automotive Industry Association told the CTK news agency on Tuesday. Growth was registered by car makers Skoda Auto and Hyundai, while TPCA saw its output decrease slightly. Domestic sales of passenger cars and LUVs increased by 9.5 percent, while exports rose by nearly 16 percent. Producers expect this year's output to reach record-high values. According to AIA head Martin Jahn, it could grow up to 5 percent and exceed 1 million units.
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