Hygiene inspectors found a great majority of children’s summer camps in the Czech Republic to be in good condition, the Czechs news agency reported on Saturday. The inspectors only found minor problems. The exceptions included a camp near the town of Opava in the north-east of country, where children were staying in “horrible conditions”, the agency reported.
The new Czech finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, told the daily Právo on Saturday he would remove tax breaks on mortgages. The change should be included in a new tax bill that should enter into force in two years’ time. Mr Kalousek said he saw no reason why socially challenged people, who cannot afford mortgages anyway, should contribute to mortgages of people with higher income. Under the current legal arrangement, people can add mortgages to their tax base, and pay lower taxes as a result. The new centre-right government had announced earlier it also wanted to lower state incentives for individual building saving accounts.
The Prague clubs of Bohemians and Slavia kicked off the new year of the top Czech football division on Friday with a 1:1 draw. The game took place at the Eden stadium, which is now the home of both sides. Bohemians took an early lead against Slavia with a nice shot by Bartek in the first minute. Slavia then took the initiative and Kisel equalized 16 minutes later. The rest of the game saw Bohemians on the defensive but Slavia were not able to convert any of several opportunities.
The Temelín nuclear power plant will be switching from American to Russian fuel. The fuel, which has been provided until now by the US company Westinghouse, will be phased out of the first block over the next two months in favour of the new Russian provider TVEL, which won a 10-year tender for the contract in 2006. Temelín will shut down its first block on Friday evening to begin the change, which will involve 600 ČEZ employees and roughly 1000 workers from 50 supply companies. The fuel in the second block of the power station will be exchanged in the spring of next year.
President Václav Klaus pardoned six people on Friday, citing humanitarian reasons in most of the cases, namely the needs of the convicts to care for their children. One man was pardoned for driving without a driver’s licence and obstruction of justice because he is the sole provider for his three children. The same rationale applied to two women convicted of property crimes and credit fraud, and two foreigners who were deported and have families in the Czech Republic. In another case, a man being investigated for grievous bodily harm was pardoned because of old age and poor health. Mr Klaus last granted pardons roughly a month ago when he reprieved ten people.
The chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, is in Prague for talks with the Czech president and other officials. Admiral Di Paola is scheduled to meet with Czech President Václav Klaus, the new defence minister, Alexandr Vondra, and the chief of general staff, Vlastimil Picek. The officials will talk about Czech participation in NATO’s foreign missions.
A poll carried out by the STEM agency suggests that a majority of Czechs support the new centre-right government coalition, which consists of the Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs parties. 53% of respondents are in favour of the coalition, while 58% of those who participated in May elections give their support. The poll also rated the parties’ credibility among citizens. The new Public Affairs party was considered “trustworthy” by most small party supporters, left-leaning voters and non-voters. Partisan voters, meanwhile, were more likely to consider the party “suspicious”. The coalition parties received a combined total of 48% of the legislative election in May and will stand a vote of confidence in Parliament on August 10.
Archaeologists have discovered the Bronze Age tomb of a woman and a child near the Moravian town of Hulín. Near the tomb, and what was once a road, were several pits for food storage, decorated ceramics, animal bones and plaster wall fragments. The archaeologists said the burial was set according to the common ritual practices of the time, with both figures crouched face to face and the child in the woman’s arms, however it was unusual that they were interred in what was obviously a residential area. The animal bones will help researchers understand the eating and breeding customs of the early inhabitants of Moravia; in addition to cow, pig and goat bones they also found a large number of remains of river shellfish.
The daily Mladá fronta Dnes writes that Police President Oldřich Martinů will likely be replaced by the current director of the South Moravian police, Tomáš Kužel. If true, the appointment will doubtless stir controversy as Mr Kužel served for several months in the National Security force of the communist secret police in 1989 and was charged with surveillance activities. Before then he had been a member of the Public Security police since 1984. Citing several unnamed sources, Mladá fronta says that Prime Minister Petr Nečas has been informally told of the nomination. New Interior Minister Radek John sparked alarm last week when he said he would likely replace the current police chief with “one of his own people”. He has no yet commented on Mr Kužel’s potential nomination.
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