Leaders of the Prague transport authority’s trade unions walked out of
talks with city officials on Wednesday, increasing the chances of a strike
in the coming days. Union leaders said Prague City Hall had failed to
answer their demands. However, they called for another meeting with the
authorities on Thursday before a decision on the strike is made. The news
website lidovky.cz reported that the strike is likely to begin on
Wednesday, November 18.
The Prague transport authority’s trade unions demanded, among other things, that the city covers the company’s operational loss of 1.9 billion crowns, or more than 112 million US dollars. However, city officials only agreed on Tuesday to provide the company with 900 million crowns.
In an address to the European Parliament marking 20 years since the fall
of communism, the former Czech president Václav Havel called on Wednesday
for solidarity with people who face oppression by totalitarian regimes
around the world, disregarding possible economic consequences. The former
dissident also strongly rejected the notion, recently voiced by Czech
President Václav Klaus, that the Czech Republic would lose its sovereignty
with the deepening of European integration.
Mr Havel also noted that the European Union should have a concise and brief constitution to replace the thousands of pages of complicated documents.
The director of the Bory prison in Plzeň, western Bohemia, Petr Folk
suspended on Wednesday several guards who did not prevent a prisoner from
escaping during a visit to the doctor. Mr Folk refused to specify how many
guards were suspended, but said the measure should enable an objective
investigation into the incident.
A 32-year-old man escaped during a visit to a hospital in Plzeň on Tuesday after his wife and accomplice opened fire at the guards. They later got in a car and drove off. The police suspect that both the convict and his wife have already left the country.
The governor of the Czech National Bank, Zdeněk Tůma, has expressed scepticism concerning the Czech economy’s ability to generate a 5-percent growth in the coming years. Speaking at a banking conference in Prague on Wednesday, Mr Tůma said he expected the economy to grow moderately despite persisting problems, such as the rising unemployment rate. He noted that one of the major problems the government should focus on is budget policy.
In related news, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Joaquín Alumnia, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday that Czech economy had better foundations than the economies of other countries in the region. Commissioner Alumnia also said that the country’s growth potential was higher than the EU average.
A monument honouring Czechoslovak paratroopers from WWII was unveiled in
the Scottish town of Arisaig on Wednesday. Around 300 Czech and Slovak
members of the Czechoslovak army in exiled were trained in the area during
the war to be dropped in occupied Czechoslovakia. Those included Jozef
Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, who assassinated the acting Reichsprotektor, and
one of the highest-
ranking Nazis, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942.
The granite statue, depicting a parachute after descent, was paid for by funds collected by the Czech honorary consul in Scotland, Paul Millar.
The Czech candidate for the new European commission, Štefan Füle, on
Wednesday outlined his preferences as to which portfolio he would like to
get. Mr Füle told the Chamber of Deputies’ European Affairs Committee
that the portfolios that could be considered included energy, enlargement,
regional policy, transport, environment and science and research. The Czech
candidate said that he would personally prefer the energy or enlargement
Mr Füle also rejected criticism by some MPs that his membership in the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and studies at the KGB-controlled Moscow Institute of International Relations in the 1980s disqualified him for a high-profile job in the European Commission.
President Klaus on Tuesday launched his new book “Where Tomorrow Begins” on the fall of communism and the country’s political and economic development in the past 20 years. Although the book is expected to map the president’s own career in Czech politics, Mr. Klaus told readers not to expect any behind-the-scenes stories about himself and his closest associates, saying that the book was largely analytical. During his time in office the president has written over a dozen books on issues ranging from global warming to EU integration.
A regional court has handed a 37-year-old man a life sentence for the brutal murder of a twenty-year-old student. The murder took place in the summer of 2005 when the girl hitched a ride home to Liberec. The man sexually abused her and then cut her throat for fear that she would report him, later boasting about what he had done to a friend in the pub. Although the man later said he’d made up the story police found enough evidence to convict him. The judge said he had acted with exceptional brutality, clearly had no conscience and posed a serious threat to society.
A poll conducted by the agency SANEP suggests that 79 percent of Czechs have never read the Bible. However the vast majority of them say they know what’s in it, from their parents, films or other sources. Fifteen percent of respondents said they owned a prized family bible, 14 percent said they had received a copy as a gift and seven percent said they had bought one themselves. Forty-three percent of respondents said the Bible contained useful information even in the present-day.
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Wide range of events in store for Czechs this weekend as 30-year anniversary of Velvet Revolution reaches climax
Škoda unveils 4th-generation Octavia ahead of model’s 60th anniversary
Hundreds of thousands again gather in Prague to voice their opposition to prime minister
15 years later – was ending military service right move for Czech Republic?