The Czech army plans to invest about one billion crowns in the construction
of new training facilities and in the renovation of the existing ones
between the years 2019 and 2025, the Defense Ministry spokeswoman Jana
Zechmeisterová said on Wednesday.
The money will be used, among others, for the reconstruction and enlargement of the Military Academy and Training Center in Vyškov. According to Ms Zechmeisterová, around 17,000 to 18,000 soldiers pass through the military academy and training centre each year.
Over 30 percent of bridges in the Central Bohemian region are in a poor
state and 11 percent are in dangerous condition, Jaroslava Pokorná
Hermanová, governor of the Central Bohemian region, told journalists on
Only 10 percent out of the total 1,844 bridges in the Central Bohemian region are in excellent condition, according to the results of an annual monitoring of the state of bridges in the country.
Concern regarding the state of the country’s bridges was sparked after the collapse of a footbridge across the Vltava River on December 2, which left four people injured. Experts are still assessing what caused the bridge, which stood between Prague’s Troja with Císařský Island, to collapse.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ new minority government was sworn in at
Prague Castle on Wednesday. The cabinet will now have a maximum 30 days to
find backing in a confidence vote in the Chamber of Deputies.
The new minority government is made up of 14 ministers, four of them women, and the prime minister himself. Five ministers in the new cabinet held previous ministerial posts in the former government led by the Social Democrats and some, like Justice Minister Robert Pelikán and Transport Minister Dan Ťok, are keeping the same jobs.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Prime Minister along with ministerial nominees laid a wreath at the tomb of the first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk at Lány.
Parliamentary elections, ice hockey championships and the presidential
pardon of the country’s most notorious prisoner Jiří Kajínek were
among the top trending searches on Google in the Czech Republic in 2017,
the company said in a press release on Wednesday.
Among other topics that also made the top 10 of Google’s annual list of most popular searches in 2017 were the launch of the receipt lottery and Lidl e-shop as well as the popular toy, the fidget spinner.
Leaders of the anti-EU Europe of Nations and Freedom bloc are set to meet
in Prague at the end of the week. The leader of the anti-migrant and
anti-Islam Freedom and Direct Democracy Party, Tomio Okamura, is set to
meet with Geert Wilders, head of the Dutch Freedom Party and Marine Le Pen,
the leader of France's National Front.
Several civic initiatives are planning to hold protests against the meeting. Along with Le Pen and Wilders, the meeting will be also attended by representatives of the Austrian Freedom Party and other European anti-migrant parties.
Czech car maker Škoda Auto recorded its best monthly results ever in
November. The company sold 114,600 cars in November, which is an increase
by 17.5 percent on the previous year, according to a press release issued
Škoda Auto saw significant growth in its markets in Europe, India and China, driven mainly by sales of its larger model cars and SUVs. Škoda Octavia remains the company’s best-selling model with 41,000 cars delivered to the market in November.
Newsweek has reported that the recently appointed American ambassador to
Prague, Stephen B. King, was allegedly involved in violence in connection
with the Watergate affair in the early 1970s. The magazine wrote on Tuesday
that Mr. King, a former FBI agent, was working as a security aide for the
committee to re-elect Richard Nixon as president when he allegedly slapped
and restrained Martha Mitchell, the wife of Nixon’s campaign director,
whom he was tasked with monitoring.
Mr. King told Newsweek this week that he would not respond to the old story with respect to the privacy of the Mitchell family and in light of responses he made to the allegations in past decades.
The allegations did not come up in Mr. King’s confirmation hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August of this year, Newsweek said.
The circumstances surrounding the privatisation of the OKD mining company
are to be examined by a new lower house investigative committee established
by the Czech Pirate Party. The nine-member committee is set to be filled
and elect a chairperson on Friday. Its results should be presented to MPs
in the latter part of 2018.
The previous Chamber of Deputies refused to set up a committee to look at the sell-off of OKD, which critics say was massively undervalued. However, it did pass a resolution saying that the privatisation had not been advantageous to the state in economic or social terms.
A court expert who prepared an evaluation of the value of OKD and two former managers of the National Property Fund are currently on trial in connection with the sell-off of the state’s minority stake in the company.
Outgoing prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Social Democrats, who has been criticised for his role in the privatisation, is due to appear as a witness.
The Prague authorities have filed a criminal complaint against an unknown
perpetrator in connection with the collapse of a footbridge in the city at
the start of December, the mayor of the city, Adriana Krnáčová, said on
Tuesday. The authorities believe there is evidence for a case of
endangerment through neglect.
Four people were injured, two seriously, when the footbridge near Prague Zoo collapsed on December 4.