Fifty-eight percent of Czechs support the death penalty, indicates a poll carried out by the CVVM agency in May. Most supporters of the death penalty say that it is an adequate and just punishment for grave crimes. The death penalty in former Czechoslovakia was abolished in 1990. Until then, about 1200 people had been executed since the end of the WWII. The number of people supporting capital punishment has been decreasing since 1992, when 76 percent of the population were in favour, while in 2000 it was 60 percent.
The International Union of Architects says that the tender for a new National Library building in Prague was fair. In an unofficial response to an inquiry by eight Czech architecture studios dissatisfied with the results of the contest, the Union confirmed the position of the international jury that chose the project by Czech-born London-based architect Jan Kaplicky. The results of the tender were published in March and immediately provoked criticism based both on technical and aesthetic objections. The new National Library should be finished by 2010 on Prague's Letna Plain and will cost about two billion Czech crowns.
The Czech Justice Ministry is in debt and cannot pay the companies it had commissioned, says Hospodarske noviny. The daily reported that one of the companies even sold its claims of nearly 60 million CZK to a foreign bank. The Ministry started renovating court buildings and constructing a new Justice Palace in Brno during the term of the former minister Pavel Nemec; it commissioned more renovation work than the ministry could afford, said the daily.
Skoda Auto was the biggest exporter in the Czech Republic in 2006, according to the CZECH TOP 100 Association. Skoda's exports rose 10 percent last year and reached 178 billion Czech crowns, or more than eight billion US dollars. The Czech car maker was the top exporter in 2005 as well. The foreign trade of the Czech Republic, relying mostly on car exports, closed with a surplus of 47.3 billion crowns last year, which was the best result in history.
A court in Johannesburg has ruled that fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir may be arrested again provided that the Czech Republic supplies all the required documents. The prosecutor acting on behalf of the Czech Republic says all materials are already in South Africa and wants to have Mr Krejcir arrested immediately. The businessman, whose whereabouts are unknown at the moment, was arrested in South Africa in April but was released last week because the Czech authorities did not file extradition documents in time. However, both Czech Justice Ministry and South African prosecution claim the period had not expired. Mr Krejcir can move freely in South Africa, but may not leave the country. In the Czech Republic, he is wanted for a number of economic as well as violent crimes.
Hot weather with temperatures just below 30 degrees Celsius will continue in the Czech Republic until 10 July. According to the long-term forecast of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, June will be the tenth month in a row with temperatures rising above average. The amount of rainfall for the same period will remain at the usual level, said the Czech weathermen.
Monday marks the beginning of tax freedom in the Czech Republic and Czechs are no longer working for the state, says the think tank Liberal Institute, referring to estimates by the OECD. The Tax Freedom Day symbolically ends the period of 164 days during which all income was paid to the authorities. This year, the day came three days earlier than last year. The date of the Tax Freedom Day varies in different countries depending on tax duty.
The district court in Ostrava has been dealing with first cases of divorces of gay couples. Ales Palkovsky, the vice-chairman of the court, said three lesbian couples have asked the court to cancel their registration, and two of them have already been cancelled. Conditions for the cancellation of registered partnerships are much softer than they are for heterosexual marriages, said Palkovsky. In the Czech Republic, gay couples have been able to contract registered partnerships since last July, after a long-term camping by homosexual advocacy groups.
Beer Barrel Polka is the most frequently played Czech song abroad, said Blanka Ruzickova of the Czech performing rights society. Beer Barrel Polka, known in Czech as Skoda lasky, or Wasted Love, was composed by Jaroslav Vejvoda in 1930s, and immediately became popular all across Europe and. German soldiers during WWII knew the song as Rosamunde, while American marines enjoyed it as Here Comes the Navy. Today, the song exists in 16 languages with 28 different lyrics.
A sharp increase has been recorded in the number of cases of tick-borne encephalitis in the Czech Republic. Last year, 1029 people were infected with the disease, which was 400 more than the previous year. Experts predict there could be even more infections this year, as last year's warm winter mean that the incidence of ticks that carry the disease is much more widespread. This year they have even been found in city parks as well as in their traditional rural habitats. Czech daily Pravo also reports that there is a shortage of encephalitis vaccines in the country at the moment, with demand far exceeding supply.