Czech public debt climbed to 728.9 billion crowns (32.88 billion dollars) at the end of June, the finance ministry said on Monday in a quarterly statement. That represents a rise of 30.7 billion crowns from 698.2 billion at the end of March, the ministry added. The debt is climbing slower than Czech economic growth, which came to 6.0 percent in 2005.
The right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party, which topped the polls in elections last month, has postponed plans to take part in the launch of a "euroskeptic" right-wing grouping within the European Parliament, the head of the party's group of MEPs Jan Zahradil said on Monday. The move represents a rebuff to British Conservative leader David Cameron, the main driving force behind the creation of such a grouping opposed to further moves for a more integrated European Union. Last month, Mr Cameron visited Prague to try to convince Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek to commit to such a grouping. The party had come under heavy pressure from German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, not to quit the European Peoples' Party grouping, which favours further steps towards European integration.
The Czech traffic police say that the number of road accidents over the weekend was around half the number compared to the same time last year. While there were 1450 accidents on the second weekend of the summer holidays in 2005, this year the number was 860. The decrease has been attributed to the new and stricter transport law introducing a new points system for driving offences which came into force earlier this month.
President Vaclav Klaus, who is on an official visit to Romania, has said that it is necessary to seek a solution to the current election stalemate and involve the Social Democratic Party in the process. But Mr Klaus said he could not predict whether Mr Topolanek's offer to the Social Democrats to join the emerging coalition was a way out of the situation.
Social Democrat chairman Jiri Paroubek has written an official letter to his colleagues from the Party of European Socialists in which he complained about the actions of the Civic Democrats before the elections in early June, the daily Hospodarske noviny writes. Mr Paroubek is reported as saying that the election victory of the Civic Democrats had been achieved through unfair methods and contempt of principles of decency and European political traditions. Elite detective Jan Kubice submitted a report in late May that hinted at links between organised crime and the Social Democrat-led civil service sector. The report also included allegations concerning Mr Paroubek's personal life. The Social Democrats believe that the Civic Democrats, their main rival, were behind the scandal. The Civic Democrats say Mr Paroubek's letter casts the Czech Republic in a bad light.
The centre-right coalition of the Civic Democratic Party, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens has offered to the Social Democrats to become members of the coalition cabinet, Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek told journalists on Monday. The coalition also said that on Friday, it was ready to support the election of a Social Democrat as the speaker of the lower house of parliament. In response to the offer, the outgoing Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said that he believed a coalition of his Social Democrats with the three parties was unlikely but he said a party leadership meeting would discuss the matter on Tuesday. The next round of talks about the creation of a new government is scheduled for Wednesday.
A film by US director Laurie Collyer has won the the Crystal Globe, the
main prize at the 41st Karlovy Vary international film festival. Titled
"Sherrybaby", it is sadi to tell the story of a former drug addict who
attempts to establish contact with her daughter following time in jail.
The Best Actress Award went to Maggie Gyllenhall for the same film; the
actress is known to Czech audiences for performances in films like
"Secretary" and "Adaptation".
Also, in Karlovy Vary two films - "Beauty in Trouble", by Czech director Jan Hrebejk, and the Bulgarian film "Christmas Tree Upside Down" by filmmakers Ivan Cherkelov and Vassil Zhivkor - received the Special Jury prize.
Racer Martin Doktor has earned silver in the 200 metre speed canoeing race at the European Championships in Racice, in the Litomerice region. Doktor - who last won a silver in 1999 in Zagreb, Croatia - now has a total of 12 European championship medals. In the race for the gold Doktor was edged by Russian favourite Maxim Opalev. Lithuanian racer Jevgenij Suklin came 3rd.
Almost 90 of some 450 Czech soldiers serving in the NATO-led international force KFOR have departed for a six-month mission in Kosovo. They are to be joined by the rest of their colleagues by the end of the month. The latest soldiers are part of the 9th contingent and will be responsible for continuing to maintain peace and order, as well as conducting searches for illegal weapons, munitions, and drugs. The Czech Army has taken part in peace-keeping in Kosovo since 1999. Yearly Czech military operations abroad - including hot spots in Iraq and Afghanistan - cost some 1.5 billion crowns, (the equivalent of around 68 million US dollars).
A computer hacker reportedly hacked a website belonging to Social Democrat deputy leader Zdenek Skromach on Sunday. The site has since been restored to integrity. Notable cases of hacking in the Czech Republic in the past included the 2002 hacking of the Communist Party's website, where the perpetrator inserted a portrait of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin on the Internet pages. In 2001, the Senate and Agriculture Ministry sites were also hit.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st