- Police have found a body in Prague that they believe could be the nine-year-old girl who went missing last October.
- Czech authorities will start analyzing food and other imports from Japan for radiation.
- The Czech and Slovenian presidents have warned against panic and populism in the EU in connection with the Japanese nuclear crisis.
- The Czech Finance Ministry has launched a probe into the troubled lottery firm Sazka.
- Czech men earn 13 percent higher salaries than women in the same positions, according to a new poll.
Prague police find body believed to be missing nine-year-old girl
The police have found a body in the Prague neighbourhood of Trója they believe could be the nine -year-old girl who went missing in October, the Mediafax news agency reported on Wednesday. A police spokeswoman refused to confirm the identity of the body, and said further tests were necessary. The website blesk.cz reported however that the police informed the girl’s parents about the find, and that a man in the northern city of Most was arrested earlier on Wednesday in connection with the case.
The girl was last seen in October on her way home from school. The police searched the area several times but only found her schoolbag and her set of keys. Czech Television reported the police was testing 3D technology in the area on Wednesday which led to the discovery of the body.
Authorities to start testing Japan imports for radiation
Czech authorities will start testing food and other imports from Japan for radiation in the coming days, a spokeswoman for the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority said on Wednesday. Inspection employees together with customs officials will take samples from Japanese imports, and will also test Japanese foodstuffs that are already on the Czech market, although they do not expect to find any problems, the spokeswoman said. The Czech Republic imports foods items such as tea, legume products, fruit, soya sauce, pasta and spirits from Japan; last year’s food imports from Japan were worth 28 million crowns.
Czech and Slovenian presidents warn against nuclear panic in EU
After a meeting at Prague castle on Wednesday, Czech President Václav Klaus together with his Slovenian counterpart Danilo Turk warned against panic and populism that might spread in the EU in connection with the nuclear crisis in Japan. The presidents said the situation in Japan was extraordinary, and should be an incentive for an expert debate about enhancing the safety of nuclear power plants, rather than for populist political decisions. Mr Klaus said that voices calling for curbing nuclear power in the EU were “opportunist”. The fact that Japanese nuclear plants survived when parts of the island moved by 2.5 metres due to last week’s earthquake was a proof that nuclear power plants were safe, the Czech president added.
Army planes to pick up Czech, Slovak and Polish nationals from Japan
Two Czech army planes that left Prague on Tuesday for Tokyo will pick up some 106 Czech, Slovak and Polish, mainly women and children, from Japan in the wake of the nuclear crisis in the country, a Czech diplomat in the Japanese capital said. Among those set to return on the army planes are 41 members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra that was touring Japan when the disaster struck. A spokesman for the Czech Foreign Ministry said the planes are carrying no humanitarian aid as Japan prefers financial support. It has not yet been determined the amount the Czech Republic will provide to Japan, the spokesman said.
Finance Ministry launches probe into Sazka
The Czech Finance Ministry launched on Wednesday a probe into the lottery and betting firm Sazka, the news website idnes.cz reported. The ministry wants to find out whether Sazka has not breached any of the conditions on the basis of which the firm was granted a lottery licence. The indebted firm suspended on Tuesday its lottery activities in order to prevent further liabilities and damages. The suspension is to last until it is allowed to conclude a creit contract that would provide the company with sufficient funds. The company’s CEO, Aleš Hušák, remains in hospital after suffering a collapse on Tuesday.
Parliament approves government’s mandate for ESM talks
Both chambers of the Czech Parliament on Wednesday granted the government a mandate for negotiations on the planned European Stability Mechanism that will take place at an EU summit next week. The creation of the mechanism, that should guarantee the stability of the eurozone, will require changes to the bloc’s Lisbon treaty. Under the mandate approved by Parliament, the government will however not be able to agree with transferring more national jurisdiction to the EU’s central bodies.
Press: Education minister will make controversial politician his advisor
Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš will appoint the controversial political figure Ladislav Bátora his advisor, the daily Právo reported on Wednesday citing sources close to the minister. Ladislav Bátora, the head of a conservative and Eurosceptic group, ran in 2006 for Parliament on the ballot of the extremist National Party. Mr Dobeš was earlier considering appointing Ladislav Bátora his first deputy, a move rejected by the prime minister. The education minister refused to confirm the report, telling the daily he will announce his decision on April 1.
Czech Post delivers 60 percent of population census forms
Czech Post has delivered more than 60 percent of 16.8 million forms for the ongoing 2011 population and housing census, a spokeswoman for Czech Post said on Wednesday. The delivery should be completed a day or so ahead of schedule with the exception of the capital Prague, the spokeswoman added. However, Czech Post has come under criticism for hiring limited number of enumerators which causes serious delays. Some 11,000 workers have been employed to carry out the census, compared to 45,000 in the previous census ten years ago.. Interior Minister Radek John has blamed the problems on Czech Post’s former management.
Poll: Czech men earn 13 percent more than women
Czech men earn on average 13 percent higher salaries than women in the same positions, according to a poll by the website platy.cz released on Wednesday. The poll also found that differences between men’s and women’s salaries increase with age; in the age group of 17 to 24 year olds, men make 11 percent more than women while the difference is nearly 20 percent in the age group between 35 and 44-year-olds. The gap between men’s and women’s salaries in the Czech Republic has been criticized by a number of NGOs; last year a report by the OECD said the gap was wider than in most developed countries.
January’s retail prices up by 6.8 percent
Without stripping out seasonal effects, retail prices in January increased by 6.8 percent year-on-year, after dropping by 0.2 percent the previous month, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. The increase was mainly caused by sales of motor vehicles and non-food items, as well as a higher number of work days in that month. Analysts believe however that retail prices will drop again in February.
Prague’s Allegro restaurant defends its Michelin star
Prague’s Allegro restaurant defended its Michelin star it received in 2008 as the first restaurant in Eastern Europe. Another four eateries won the Bib Gourmand award for good food at reasonable prices, a spokesman for the Czech unit of Michelin said on Wednesday. This year, two restaurants in Budapest got Michelin stars, and the guide also lists more restaurants in Warsaw and Cracow.
The next few days will be mainly overcast, with rain showers and snow in higher places. Daytime highs will range between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.