Vít Barta, the new minister of transport, has said that he is planning to examine all of his ministry’s contracts and tenders, some of which he considers outrageously wasteful. At a press conference on Monday, Mr Barta said that the ministry’s contract with the company Kapsch was particularly suspicious. The firm won a 22- billion-crown tender to build the country’s toll system years ago, but is still receiving money from the ministry thanks to certain clauses in the contract. Mr Barta has also put on hold any new public tenders, with the exception of two: the purchase of salt and vehicles needed for winter road maintenance.
Seven out of eight municipalities in the Czech Republic spend significantly more money on men’s needs and interests rather than women’s, despite the fact that women outnumber men in most towns and villages. That is the conclusion of a fresh survey that the NGO Forum 50% presented to the public on Monday. The survey distinguished between four sectors that funds could go to: culture, sports, leisure time activities and the NGO sector. Out of those four, sports and culture dominated, while the NGO sector was the most financially neglected.
President Václav Klaus is to appoint the new head of the Czech Statistical Office on Tuesday. The post will be taken up by Iva Ritschelová, who is currently the director of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. She was recommended for the post by the former prime minister Jan Fischer, who himself headed the Czech Statistical Office before being named head of the caretaker cabinet. The 36-year-old university director specializes in environmental policies.
Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra has said he is planning to remove the head of the ministry’s acquisitions division Roman Hošta from his post by the end of this week. Mr Vondra told journalists on Monday that under Mr Hošta, contracts for public tenders to renovate army real estate had been signed that he finds suspicious and excessively expensive. He added that the ministry was also to undergo a rigorous audit by a respected international agency in an effort to uncover corruption. In recent days, the Czech daily Mladá fronta dnes alleged that the Prague firm H+V Praha had earned millions of crowns off the public tenders it received from the Ministry of Defense.
Prague police are bracing for what could be a violent soccer match between Prague’s Sparta team and the Polish club Lech Poznań, to take place in the Czech capital on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of officers will be patrolling the streets ahead of the match. Some 3000 Polish fans are expected to arrive in Prague, some as early as Tuesday morning. Foreign police will be searching for arms and checking the passports of fans travelling into the Czech Republic from Poland at the border.
Czech cinemas are showing record profits for a second year in succession. Movie houses saw profits of 747 million Czech crowns in the first half of 2010, a figure that is 195 million crowns higher than that for the first six months of 2009. According to statistics published on the website of the Czech union of film distributors, the number of visitors grew by about a million in the first half of 2010 compared to the same time period last year. Among Czech cinemas, multi-screen movie theaters dominate the market with a share of 87 percent of total profits.
President Václav Klaus is to receive the newly-appointed Prime Minister Petr Nečas at Prague Castle for a working lunch on Tuesday. Likely topics on the agenda are the appointment of a new Czech Ombudsman to replace Otakar Motejl, who died in May, and the priorities of the new government. The three-party government coalition is currently preparing its policy program, to be presented to the lower house on August 10 when the government plans to ask the house for a vote of confidence. Mr Nečas was appointed to the office of prime minister two weeks ago.
Officials in Moravský Krumlov have blocked the planned move of Alphonse
Mucha’s Slav Epic to Prague. Movers were on Monday due to start taking
the first of the 20 paintings that make up the masterpiece to the capital
for display at the Veletržni Palác modern art gallery. However local
authorities in Moravský Krumlov, where the Slav Epic has been housed for
over half a century, have heeded a call from Mucha’s heirs to bar anybody
from handling it. The ban will remain in place until uncertainties
surrounding a 1913 contract granting the city of Prague ownership of the
art work have been cleared up.
The Mucha Foundation, which is run by the artist’s grandson, says moving the Slav Epic to Veletržni Palác would only be a temporary solution. The Art Nouveau pioneer donated it to Prague on the condition that the authorities built a dedicated home for his late masterpiece, a condition that remains unfulfilled. On Sunday around 1,000 people demonstrated against it being moved from Moravský Krumlov, where it is the biggest tourist attraction.
A baby seal was born in the northern Bohemian zoo in Ustí nad Labem, a spokeswoman said on Monday. The baby was delivered on Friday; it is the first seal specimen to be born in a Czech zoo. Its mother, an eleven-year-old seal named Mary, came to the zoo from Germany in 2005. There are a total of 167 seal specimens living in 48 zoos across Europe.
Czech beekeepers are to receive a total of 3.85 million Euro or about 97
million Czech crowns in funds from the European Union between 2011 and
2013. These funds could double if the Czech government decides to match
them. The decision to support Czech beekeepers fell in Brussels last week.
The Czech Ministry of Agriculture announced the news on Monday.
Scientific studies have revealed that the number of bees worldwide over the past years has been rapidly declining, in some EU countries by as much as 50 percent. According to the European Parliament, about three-quarters of all food produced in the EU depend on bee pollination.
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’