A member of parliament for the Social Democratic Party, Martin Kraus,
has said he would give up two influential functions amidst allegations
of corruption. Mr Kraus has been under pressure to explain why he
agreed to participate in a dubious deal to buy a Ghanaian cocoa bean
factory in 2001. The newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes goes as far as
suspecting Mr Kraus of money laundering.
Mr Kraus says he is innocent but will give up the post of head of Parliament's budget committee and the group of Social Democrat Deputies. But he will not give up his mandate as has Civic Democrat Vladimir Dolezal, who is also accused of corruption and proclaims his innocence.
Ten churches in the Czech Republic have called on to Czech President Vaclav Klaus and the Senate (the upper house of Parliament) to reject a bill on registered same-sex partnerships. The bill was approved by the Lower House in mid-December and has yet to get the green light from the Senate and the President. One of the churches' arguments against it is that the Czech Republic has one of the lowest birth rates in the world and cannot afford to encourage homosexual partnerships.
A record 600,000 cars were manufactured in the Czech Republic last year. Almost 500,000 of those vehicles were produced by Skoda Auto, with the rest made at a plant opened by Toyota and Peugeot Citroen last February. The Toyota-Peugeot Citroen plant has the capacity to make many more cars, up to 300,000 a year. A similar number could be produced by Hyundai, if it builds a plant in Moravia; a decision on that deal is due by the end of the month.
Speaking at a conference on 15 years of capitalism in the Czech Republic, President Vaclav Klaus said most Czechs did not want capitalism after the Velvet Revolution but were in favour of various "third ways". Mr Klaus - who was finance minister in the early 1990s - said this reluctance to embrace capitalism was hard to believe from today's perspective. Tuesday evening's conference was attended by several other key players in post-revolution Czechoslovak politics.
DNA tests which showed a gorilla born at Prague Zoo was male were wrong, say the organisers of a project in which the zoo's gorillas are shown live on the internet; they say new tests they ordered show that Moja, the first gorilla born in this country, is actually female, as was originally believed.
The biggest state health insurer, VZP, is to receive by the end of the week three billion crowns (120 million dollars) to help it pay its debts to doctors and hospitals. The health and finance ministers agreed on the move at a meeting on Wednesday. Currently there is a two-month delay in VZP payments, and this money is intended to shorten that period by around a week and a half. The health insurer has been in turmoil in recent months.
Companies would receive tax breaks for contributing towards holidays their employees spend in the Czech Republic under a proposal from Social Democrat MP Miroslav Svoboda. The daily Pravo reported that the contribution would amount to 10,000 crowns (around 400 US dollars) and said other Social Democrats backed the plan, which is aimed at supporting tourism in the Czech Republic.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’