- Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said the Czech Republic is heading for a peripheral position in the EU.
- Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said the public sector must brace for massive lay-offs in the next two years.
- Zdeněk Jirásek’s Poupata dominated the 2012 Czech Lion awards, picking up four Czech Lions, including that for best Czech film of the year.
- The head of the far-right Workers’ Party of Social Justice Tomáš Vandas wants to run for president.
- The Prague metro has ended its extended weekend night services for lack of funds.
Foreign minister says refusing to join EU’s fiscal pact was bad decision
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said the Czech Republic is heading for a peripheral position in the EU. In a debate on Czech public television the foreign minister expressed deep discontent with the fact that the Czech prime minister had refused to sign the EU’s fiscal compact. Mr. Schwarzenberg said that the country was heading towards isolation and hinted that his own days in office were numbered. The foreign minister, who has previously stated that he would not want to remain in the post should the country remain outside of the EU mainstream, said he would continue to push for a reversal of this decision for some time longer.
PM tells public sector to brace for massive lay-offs
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said the public sector must brace for massive lay-offs in the next two years. Speaking at a press briefing held within the Civic Democratic Party’s ideological conference, Mr. Nečas admitted that the planned overhaul of the public sector could leave as many as 24 000 employees jobless –a figure floated by Czech trade unions who have protested the changes. Mr. Nečas said the Czech public sector was overstaffed and inefficient, with some institutions duplicating the work of others.
Poupata dominates Czech Lion awards 2012
Zdeněk Jirásek’s directorial debut Poupata (Flower buds) dominated the 2012 Czech Lion awards, picking up four Czech Lions, including that for best Czech film of the year. Alois Nebel by Tomáš Luňák, nominated in eight categories, picked up three awards, while Vaclav Havel’s film debut Leaving converted two out of twelve nominations. The Czech Lion for best screenplay, awarded to the late president in memoriam, was picked up his widow, actress Dagmar Havlová. Actor Josef Somr was awarded a Czech Lion for lifelong contribution to Czech cinematography.
Far-right party leader intends to run for president
The head of the far-right Workers’ Party of Social Justice Tomáš Vandas has said he wants to run for president. Mr. Vandas told the ctk news agency he believed he could collect the required 50,000 signatures for his candidacy and wanted to launch his electoral campaign at the end of April.
Officially in the running for the top post are former prime ministers Jan Fischer and Miloš Zeman, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, head of the Sovereignty party Jana Bobošíková and Christian Democrat MEP Zuzana Roithova.
Government should continue to subsidize internet in public libraries
The Culture Ministry will subsidize the internet in more than three thousand public libraries around the country, the ctk news agency reports. The decision comes after a wave of protests following an announcement that the government no longer has the funds to sustain the service. The government-funded project which secured internet access in public libraries around the country dates back to 2004, launched alongside gradual digitalization of libraries and requalification of librarians.
Extended weekend night services in Prague’s metro scrapped
The Prague Transport authority has ended extended weekend night services in Prague’s metro and on several bus lines for lack of funds. The extended service by one hour past midnight on Friday and Saturday nights was introduced in 2010 for the convenience of locals and tourists enjoying the nightlife in the city centre. The extended night services ended on midnight Saturday and a group of young people gathered at Prague’s Muzeum station to say a symbolic goodbye to the last train. More public transport restrictions should be introduced in June of this year.
Blast at gas station in Ostrava
One person is reported to have been seriously injured in an explosion at a gas station in the city of Ostrava, in the eastern part of the country. The blast occurred at mid-day on Sunday and is believed to be related to repair work being undertaken on one of the tanks. The injured man, who is believed to be an employee, was rushed to hospital. Fortunately the gas station was closed to the public for the day. The cause of the explosion is being investigated.
Monday is expected to be partly cloudy with showers in places and day temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.