Former Czech president Václav Havel will begin filming an adaptation of his play ‘Leaving’ on Thursday. Shooting will take place over two months in the east Bohemian town of Česká Skalice, around 160 kilometers north-east of Prague. Mr Havel is making his debut as a film director at the age of 73. ‘Leaving’ was Havel’s first play after a 20-year gap and made its stage debut in 2008. It recounts the story of a chancellor who quits power and enters the political wilderness accompanied by a large dose of cynicism. Havel’s wife, Dagmar, will have a major acting role in the new film.
Starting Thursday, restaurants and bars in the Czech Republic will have to display stickers at their entrance that inform customers whether the establishment is smoking or non-smoking. Failure to comply with the new measure can result in fines of up to 5000 Czech crowns. In case staff allows customers to smoke on premises which are designated non-smoking areas, bar and restaurant owners can be fined up to 10,000 Czech crowns. The measure is part of a change in the anti-smoking law which was approved by the Czech president a year ago. Owners of bars and restaurants were given a year to implement the change.
Three Czech tourists on holiday in the Caribbean drowned on a boat tour to the Trinity Falls waterfalls. On Wednesday, the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed news of the accident, which happened on Monday. According to an eye-witness, the accident happened when one of the six passengers on board, a 70-year-old woman, ignored instructions from the captain not to jump into the water. Her husband and another passenger attempted to save her, but were killed in the process. The nearest Czech embassy in the Venezuelan Caracas is in contact with relatives of the accident victims.
Trade-unionists are protesting the future government coalition’s planned changes to the labor law. After coalition negotiations on Wednesday, the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs announced they are planning to loosen restrictions regarding short-term work contracts along with making changes to the labor law that would help create more part-time positions. Under the new legislation, severance packages are also to be cut. According to unionists, the government is taking advantage of the global financial crisis to push through changes in law that will favor employers.
The Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has not advanced to the finals at Wimbledon. In the semi-finals, the 20-year-old, who is ranked 62nd world-wide, was defeated by the American world number one Serena Williams, who booked her place in the Wimbledon final with a 7-6(5) 6-2 win over her Czech opponent. Kvitová’s reachied the semi-finals at Wimbledon after a sensational performance in a tough three-set match on Tuesday.
The number of employees who hold two jobs continues to grow in the Czech Republic. According to data published by the Czech Statistical Office on Thursday, 100,500 people held down two jobs in the first half of 2010, 6,800 more than in the same period of the previous year. This figure has been on the rise for the past four years. About half of those who hold two jobs are employed and do freelance work on the side. Men between the ages of 30 and 39 are most likely to be working two different jobs.
Preliminary police statistics released Wednesday suggest 71 people died on Czech roads during June. That figure is a record low for the last 21 years. The previous June minimum was set in 2009 when 79 died with a maximum in June 2003 with 147 deaths. The Ministry of Transport is counting on road deaths this year not exceeding 650, which would be a record minimum for a whole year.
Negotiations between the three coalition partners continued on Wednesday on the four out of seven policy areas where they have still to reach agreement. Hopes have been expressed that with a deal on the cabinet format, the remaining sticking points can be settled faster. The parties sealed a deal on the law and corruption chapter of negotiations on Tuesday. Policy priorities have also been hammered out on defence and foreign affairs and farming and the environment. Talks Wednesday were due to focus on budget issues.
A 34-year-old miner was killed after an underground rock fall at the Darkov mine near Karviná, in the east of the country, on Wednesday. Five other workers were injured but were not in a serious condition according to a spokesman for the mining company OKD. The death is the third so far this year at the mining complex, equalling the total number of deaths in 2010.
Respected Czech National Bank governor Zdeněk Tůma stepped down after a decade in the job on Wednesday. Mr. Tůma decided to leave a few months before his term expired to clear the way for his successor and other board appointments. Czech President Vaclav Klaus rounded off those board appointments on Tuesday when he named Kamil Janáček to the board of the Czech National Bank. Mr Janáček is an economics professor and the chief economist of Komerční banka. At the same time, Mr Klaus promoted Vladimír Tomšík to vice-governor. He replaces Miroslav Singer, who was recently selected to become the new central bank governor. Mr. Tůma built up the bank’s and his own reputation during his long term. He was recently named one of the world top seven central bankers by the Global Finance magazine.
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