Czech police are also facing budget problems. In this case, money for covering operational expenses is short to the tune of around 900 million crowns. This threatens the force with being unable to fuel patrol cars, pay energy bills or buy paper. On the other hand, a shortage of around 3,500 staff nationwide means that the force is saving even more on the wages bill. Minister of Interior Martin Pecina said on Tuesday that the government should rush through changes that will allow unspent cash from one section of the budget to be used in another. The entire system should be overhauled next year so that budgets corresponded with costs, he said.
The number of women undergoing abortions in the Czech Republic rose last year. The Institute of Health Information and Statistics said 2008’s total climbed to 41,446 cases compared with 40,917 a year earlier. This translates into 16.35 abortions per 1,000 women of child bearing age. The institute said the slight rise in abortions was partly explained by the trend of women postponing childbirth till later in life when the risks are higher. Even so, the number of abortions has fallen to a quarter of the level it was in the early 1990’s. That is largely thanks to the greater availability of the birth control pill.
The last Czech tourists with crashed tour operator Tomi Tour have returned home. A Czech airlines plane brought the last 115 tourists back from Egypt on Tuesday morning. Around 3,200 Czechs who had booked with the tour operator were abroad when its collapse was announced on July 17. Most of the tourists were stranded in Turkey, Egypt and Spain. Holiday bookings were being taken minutes before the collapse was announced.
The Ministry of Finance says it will be forced to revise its budget deficit figures for this year because of the worse than expected economic situation. The ministry promises a new version of the 2009 budget by mid-August which could see the deficit ballooning to 200 billion crowns or beyond. The ministry only in June said that the deficit should not exceed 170 billion crowns. Since then however it has deepened its prediction of how much the economy will shrink this year to 4.3 percent.
The Prague Stock Exchange’s main index passed the 1,000 mark on Tuesday for the first time since October last year. The PX index was last above 1,000 on October 14, before a wave of panic selling sparked by worries about the state of the US and worldwide financial sector. In February the index fell to a low of 628.5 points. Over recent days shares on the Prague exchange have been caught up in a surge by stocks worldwide.
The Christian Democrats have objected to plans for a two-way debate between leaders of the two main parties ahead of October’s elections. The party has protested Czech Television’s plans for a debate between leaders of the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats on the last Sunday ahead of the vote. They say such a format risks distorting the vote. They want the two-way debate widened to include more parties. Christian Democrat leader Cyril Svoboda said that the recently re-elected head of the public broadcaster had a chance to show his mettle against pressure from the two main parties.
The government agreed on a plan to combat the effects of the financial crisis with the Czech Union of Towns and Municipalities on Monday. At a news conference after the meeting, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said the government would give Czech towns some 2 billion crowns (112 million USD) to help fight the economic downturn, and would set aside another 2 billion crowns in reserve. Head of the Union of Towns and Municipalities Oldřich Vlasák said that the lion’s share of the money would be spent on services conducted at a regional level on behalf of the state. Mr Vlasák added that, at the moment, municipalities are covering up to 70 percent of the cost of such services.
Confidence in the Czech economy grew slightly in July, according to data released by the Statistical Office on Monday. Confidence was up by 0.8 points on that of the previous month, mostly because of a rise in business confidence, the office said. Consumer confidence fell in July by two points, while business confidence was up by 1.5 points. Compared with figures from this time last year, overall confidence is down by some 23 points. According to the Statistical Office, the number of respondents who feared unemployment rose in July, while those who said they were setting aside cash remained the same.
Police have found the body of a 40-year-old woman in Benešov nad Ploučnicí who, they say, may be the 15th victim of the flash floods which struck the country in early July. A spokesperson for the police in Děčín said forensics specialists were now trying to identify the woman who was found in a river on Monday morning. The results of DNA tests should be known in a month, spokesman Ladislav Cvik added. The body is thought to be that of a woman who disappeared on July 4 when helping others escape flash floods in north Bohemia. The floods claimed at least 14 lives around the Czech Republic and caused billions of crowns worth of damage.
A further 20 cases of swine flu were registered in the Czech Republic over the weekend, the Health Ministry said on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in this country to 63. According to the ministry, the majority of those infected did not need hospital treatment and were recovering in isolation at home, without needing to use antivirals. A spokesperson for the ministry added that none of those infected displayed any signs of further health complications, and that all of the patients were on course to make a full recovery. The new cases were mostly registered in people who had returned to the Czech Republic from abroad, notably Great Britain, the United States and Spain, though several of the patients had not recently left the country, and had contracted the virus from those they had been in contact with here.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”