The chief inspection authority has fined the chemicals company Snog HK ten million crowns for illegally storing toxic substances on a former factory site in Libcany, east Bohemia. The fine is the highest that can be imposed for this particular transgression but the firm is unlikely to pay since it recently announced bankruptcy. The company's illegal waste dump was uncovered in April. Since then decontamination crews have managed to clear out about a third of the harmful waste. Some 600 tons still remain.
The legendary Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny took bronze at the European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg on Wednesday. It was Zelezny's farewell to competitive sport: after an extremely successful career he is retiring at the age of 40. He wasn't the only Czech to reach the podium in Gothenburg - Tomas Janku came second in the men's high jump.
The outgoing prime minister, Jiri Paroubek has indicated that he may run for the post of speaker of the lower house if a political agreement is reached with the other parliamentary parties. The election of a Social Democrat candidate to the post on a temporary basis is part of a compromise proposal made by President Vaclav Klaus this week which is aimed at breaking the deadlock in the lower chamber. Once the lower house has a new leadership the wheels will have been set in motion for the demise of the outgoing cabinet and the appointment of a prime minister designate. Six attempts to elect a new leadership have failed since elections at the start of June.
Prague's Ruzyne Airport has stepped up security in reaction to the news of thwarted terrorist attacks on US bound planes from London on Thursday. The additional security measures concern primarily British and US bound flights and are effective as of today. Passport and security clearance will be tighter and passengers will not be allowed to take any liquids or gels on board. A spokeswoman for Prague's Ruzyne airport said passengers on British and US bound flights were kindly requested to arrive well in advance of boarding i.e. at least two hours ahead of take off. A number of flights from Prague to London were cancelled on Thursday as London's Heathrow airport closed to traffic.
Japan's largest glass maker, Asahi Glass, said Thursday it plans to invest 100 million euros (128 million dollars) in the building of a new glass furnace in the Czech Republic. Construction of the furnace with a capacity of 700 tonnes a day will start later this year at a factory owned by its European subsidiary Glaverbel S.A., the Japanese company said in a statement. Full-scale production of float glass, which is mainly used for construction and automobiles, will begin at the furnace in 2008.
The two Czech football teams taking part in the final qualifying round of the prestigious Champions League had mixed fortunes on Wednesday night. Mlada Boleslav were beaten 5:2 by Galatasaray in Istanbul, while Slovan Liberec drew 0:0 at home with Spartak Moscow. The second legs of those ties take place in two weeks' time.
The Civic Democratic Party has said that it finds the president's proposal acceptable on condition that the interim head of the lower house would not in any way try to influence the choice of prime minister. Mr. Topolanek, who is most likely to be appointed prime minister designate, said that the mandate of the new Czech government should exceed 2009, when the Czech Republic will preside over the European Union. A shorter term in office would be meaningless, he said. The Social Democrats have indicated that they would be ready to support a minority Civic Democrat government that would include both politicians and experts. There is still controversy between the two parties over who would pick the experts.
The Czech crown reached an all-time high on Wednesday morning, hitting 28.10 crowns per Euro. Another record was also set against the U.S. dollar, with the crown trading at 21.78 Kc per one USD. The Czech crown set its previous record highs in May of this year. Analysts say that August's record highs are due to confidence resulting from Czech economic growth, the popularity of Czech products on the EU market, and a number of speculative investments. The powerful Czech crown means cheaper vacations abroad, as well as lower prices for gas on the domestic market.
Czech Airlines, the country's national carrier, will raise its prices starting on August 15, and this thanks to rising fuel costs. The new security and fuel surcharges will differ for travel within Europe which will see a fee of 550 crowns ($25 USD), and long-distance flights where the new fees will total 1475 crowns ($67 USD). Air France and KLM—both members of the Sky Team alliance to which CSA also belongs—also announced price hikes this week.
Civic Democratic Party leader, Mirek Topolanek, says that during the
Wednesday morning talks President Vaclav Klaus proposed that MPs elect
as a temporary chair of the lower house a member of the Social
Democratic Party. Mr. Topolanek says that he supports the candidacy of
a Social Democrat for the post, so long as it is a temporary solution
and the mandate would be for a limited time period, as the president
suggested. The Christian Democratic leader, Miroslav Kalousek, also
agrees with this proposition. The Social Democratic Party will decide
on its candidate for the post of chairperson of the lower house by
Friday. It is expected that there will only be one nominee for the
post, in accordance with what leading politicians have discussed with
Meanwhile, speaking after Wednesday morning's meeting at Prague Castle, Social Democratic leader Jiri Paroubek told reporters that President Klaus has not ruled out the possibility of asking him to try and form the next government. However, Mr. Paroubek also said that he is prepared to support a minority Civic Democratic government which would include a number of non-partisan experts.
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