Production of cars and light vehicles in the Czech Republic increased by 29.6 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2010, according to figures released on Tuesday by the country’s car makers’ association. Škoda Auto rolled out 37.6 percent more cars between the start of January and the start of April than in the same period in 2009. A representative of the industry’s umbrella body said the overall increase was largely due to the fact Škoda had seen low demand in the first quarter last year and a Hyundai in north Moravia went into full production. Over a quarter of a million cars were made in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of 2010.
Czech government aid to compensate airlines for losses caused by the volcanic ash could be awarded, according to Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper Lidové noviny. It quoted comments from Minister of Finance Eduard Janota who suggested that the government might take advantage of signals from the European Commission that a certain amount of aid for airlines might be permitted without problems. Mr Janota said that he had asked state-owned carrier Czech Airlines to give him an estimate of its losses caused by the disruption. Other Czech airlines, such as charter airline Travel Service, would also have the right to any aid offered, so that competition rules would not be broken.
The last week of April should see lots of sunshine and temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius, according to a long-term weather forecast released by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Tuesday. The first half of May is expected to see rain and storms, with temperatures in the low 20s Celsius, the report said.
Six people died on Czech roads on Monday, the highest death toll for a single day so far this year. Four of the dead were killed when the car they were travelling in was involved in a collision with a truck near Chomutov in the north-west of the country. Police said the driver of the car was most likely to blame for the accident after overtaking dangerously. 2010 has so far seen the lowest number of road deaths in two decades; police said that was mainly due to heavy snows which kept cars off the roads.
The authorities in Prague have turned down a request from a Japanese institution to borrow an enormous series of works by the Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha. Japan’s NHK promotions had wanted to bring the 20-painting Slav Epic to a Tokyo museum in 2012, and had offered to pay for its restoration. But Prague councillors voted on Tuesday to deny the request, saying instead that the Slav Epic would be moved from its current home in Moravský Krumlov to the capital’s Výstaviště exhibition grounds in September. However, it is not clear whether the city intends to build a dedicated home for the monumental artwork, which was a condition set by Mucha when he donated it to Prague in 1928.
Though Czech air space is now open, airlines have been forced to cancel a number of flights as problems caused by volcanic ash from Iceland continue. A spokesperson for Prague’s Ruzyně said that 170 planes would take off from and land at the airport on Tuesday, around 60 fewer than originally planned for the day. All of the Czech Republic's international airports are now in operation, after Karlovy Vary resumed flights on Tuesday. Czech air space was closed for some days after a cloud of ash was released by the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, complicating air travel over much of Europe.
Baník Ostrava have drawn level on points with Sparta Prague at the top of the Czech soccer league, after a 1:0 away victory over Liberec on Monday evening made it five wins in five games for the north Moravian side. With five games remaining this season, both teams are on 51 points. The closeness of the title race means all eyes will be on a match between the top two at Baník Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium in two weeks’ time.
A special mass was held at the Vatican on Tuesday morning in honour of the Czech-born cardinal and Jesuit theologian Tomáš Špidlík, who died in Rome on Friday at the age of 90. Pope Benedict XV1 was among the officiators at the ceremony, which was also attended by representatives of the Czech Republic. Cardinal Špidlík’s remains will be placed in the crypt of St Wenceslas Cathedral in Olomouc on Wednesday, before burial at the nearby Velehrad, a popular pilgrimage destination for Czech Roman Catholics.
Prague’s metro system is set to start running later at weekends, the news website idnes.cz reported. The board of the Prague Public Transport Co. voted on Monday to extend services on the city’s underground rail network on Friday and Saturday nights until 1 am from July 1. The news follows suggestions earlier this year that cost-cutting measures could lead to services ending at 11.30 pm, an idea which was met with some resistance from the public. Prague’s deputy major, Rudolf Blažek, said the number of police officers patrolling the metro system would increase this year from 210 to 270.
Two Czech movies will feature in the main competition at the 45th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July. Jan Svěrák’s new animated movie Kooky and 3 Seasons in Hell by Tomáš Mašín will be up against around a dozen other films for that Crystal Globe. Meanwhile, a Crystal Globe for lifetime contribution to world cinema will be presented to the Slovak-born director Juraj Herz, who is known for such pictures as The Cremator. The Czech director Bohdan Slama will be on the main jury at the festival, which runs from July 2 to 10.
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