Czechs should be travelling to the United States without visas by the end of this year at the latest, the Czech ambassador to the EU Milena Vicenová has said, adding that the Czech-US agreement is to be announced on November 17. So far, only citizens of 15 older EU member states, with the exception of Greece, do not need a visa when travelling to the US. Among the member states that joined the EU in 2004 or later, Slovenia is the only country included in the visa-waiver programme.
The government on Tuesday raised guarantees for bank deposits of up to 50,000 euros. Until now, clients’ savings accounts have been insured up to 25,000 euros, which is in line with the country’s banking law from 2001. Meeting in Luxembourg last week, EU ministers made a pledge to raise bank deposit guarantees across Europe, in order to renew confidence in banks hit by the crisis.
The 12th successive Forum 2000 international conference, attended by over ninety politicians, philosophers, and journalists from around the world, is drawing to a close. Along with the former Czech president Václav Havel, the founder of the Forum 2000 Foundation, the event attracted the likes of Russian opposition leader Gari Kasparov, Belarussian opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich and former Polish dissident and journalist Adam Michnik. Mr Havel on Monday expressed his support for dissidents from various countries, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the legendary breakfast of eight Czechoslovak dissidents and then French president Francois Mitterand at the French embassy in 1988. It was the first official contact between a Western leader and members of the anti-communist opposition.
Czech EU presidency in the first half of next year will require about 1.7 billion crowns from the state budget, according to the government draft budget for next year. Most money will be used for financing events organised by the office of the Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexander Vondra, as well as by the foreign and interior ministers. Some 15 million crowns will be used for security measures. The EU presidency is expected to cost the state budget altogether 3.3 billion crowns.
Entrepreneur Bohumír Ďuričko, who is in custody for murder, had in the past donated money to both the Civic and the Social Democrats, the daily Hospodářské Noviny reported on Tuesday. The paper highlights widespread allegations that Czech politicians have contacts with suspect individuals. Ďuričko, who is reported to have collaborated with the communist secret service, got into a heated dispute with the son of Václav Kočka, a rich entrepreneur and former advisor to opposition leader Jiří Paroubek and killed him at a restaurant where they had been invited to attend the opposition leader’s book launch. Although Mr. Paroubek had long gone by the time the shooting occurred, the incident has hurt his party’s image ahead of the Senate and local elections due to take place this weekend.
Prague will host the 61st congress of the International Astronautical Federation in 2010, the Czech Space Office announced on Monday. The agreement was signed this month at federation’s 59th congress in Glasgow. The IAF congress, last held in Prague in 1977, will be attended by 1500 to 2000 scientists from around the world. The Czech Republic is also set to join the European Space Agency by the end of this year.
The Christian Democratic Party has launched a project designed to point out the continuing violation of human rights in Cuba and other countries. Within the framework of the project entitled ‘Political prisoners, we know about you’, the party will present one foreign political prisoner every day on its website. So far, there are 35 people in the database, all of them from Cuba. The project was presented at a news conference on Tuesday by Minister Cyril Svoboda, who criticised the EU for the abolition of the sanctions towards Cuba.
The Prague Stock Exchange opened Tuesday’s trading with a strong growth, following Monday's steep increase. Czech stock prices leapt 7.25 percent in early trading on Tuesday to 1,052.7 points. The market is gradually recovering from last Friday’s fall, when trading on the Prague bourse fell by a record 14.94 percent, the worst loss since the bourse was founded in 1993.
Koh-i-Noor Hardmuth, the biggest pencil and stationary company in Central Europe, has opened its first shop in China. The factory shop is located in Nanjing, where the company relocated part of its production in 2005. Koh-i-noor plans to open shops in all 30 Chinese provinces within three years. The Koh-i-noor brand name was registered in 1894.
Most Czech firms are not interested in drawing money from EU funds, suggests a poll conducted by the Factum Invenio agency, which addressed 500 companies. Nearly 40 percent of Czech companies are not aware of the option. According to the poll, only every sixth company has so far benefited from EU structural funds. Experts say the low interest in EU subsidies is due to a lack of information.
Czech tourist killed by shark in Egypt
Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan killed by suicide bomber
Prague exhibition brings August 1968 invasion to life
Heatwave continues to put pressure on businesses, individuals alike
Precious Renaissance shield looted by Nazis to return to Czech Republic from US