The EU “Generation Awake” campaign for more effective consumption was launched in Prague on Thursday, as it was several days ago Poland. The campaign is aimed at encouraging European consumers to think more about their daily spending and purchasing habits, and consider that even average consumption influences issues of waste, water and energy. European Environemntal Commissioner Janez Potočnik was in Prague to start the drive, reminding Czechs that material consumption in the EU amounted to 16 tonnes per year, per capita, half of which ends up in landfills.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas addressed the death of Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday afternoon, referring to it as an act of justice. In a statement the prime minister said that the day would be a symbolic milestone in the difficult path of the Libyan people towards freedom, and evidence of the fact that the crimes of dictators against their people would not go unpunished. Mr Nečas added that the key element for the successful development of Libya now would be adherence to human rights, lawful punishment of the perpetrators of injustice, and security.
Pedestrians must prepare for icy conditions on pavements or else cannot expect compensation for damages, the Supreme Court has ruled. In a legal opinion released in order to unify judicial practices regarding compensation, the court said that pedestrians can only sue for damages incurred under conditions they could not have expected or prepared for. The statement does not, it said, relieve the owner of a pavement of their duty to upkeep it. The responsibility for maintaining municipal pavements was shifted from building owners to local town halls last winter.
The largest-ever project for the construction of a fossil-fuel power plant has been proposed for the region of Česká Lípa in Northern Bohemia, according to the daily Lidové noviny. The paper says the investor, BV Energy, plans to launch the first stage of the project in 2015 and the second five years later. The 1200-megawatt plant would outperform the ČEZ plant currently under construction in Počerady. An unnamed source from ČEZ told Lidové noviny they had received a proposal for the project several years ago and suggested that it may be intended solely for sale to the Czech energy giant. The source said they do not know who is behind the plan and that the construction of such as plant in the area in question would be unreasonable. The local government has given preliminary approval for the plan.
Czech courts do not have the authority to rule on the terms of employment of clerics, the Constitutional Court has found. In an 18-year-long case regarding two pastors’ termination of employment with the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, the court found that the Czech judiciary would be violating the autonomy of the church if it were to rule on such matters. The verdict overrules those of the lower and the Supreme Court and return. The friars claim that their termination was inconsistent with the rules of the church and the Labour Code and are demanding millions of crowns in back-pay.
Police Chief Petr Lessy on Thursday promised local mayors in Northern Bohemia an increased police presence in the area to ward against increased crime and disputes between locals and incoming Roma communities. Mr Lessy said he would be sending a 50-man patrol to Varnsdorf that would later be the foundation for a special force of 170 officers that should be established next year. Racial tensions in the area have been high of late, with anti-Roma demonstrations taking place on a weekly basis.
Czech football champions Viktoria Plzeň lost 2:0 against football giants Barcelona on Wednesday in their third match in Group H in the Champions League. Iniesta put Barcelona up 1:0 within 10 minutes and Barca produced a hatful of opportunities, with Messi hitting the post on a free-kick seconds before halftime. Plzeň, newcomers to the Champions League, did well to keep Barca from getting a second goal until the final minutes, although they were unable to get a single shot on goal of their own in the match. Plzeň have only one point in three games from a draw with Bate Borisov, while Barca and AC Milan will head to the knock-out stage.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is set to become the first official nominee for president at the weekend, when his TOP 09 will nominate him at its congress in Hradec Králové. Mr Schwarzenberg himself has said in the past that he would only participate in direct, popular elections. He told the daily Hospodářské noviny he would tell the congress whether he will be willing to run under the current conditions of parliamentary elections. A leading TOP 09 member told the paper that in part the reason for the early nomination was deteriorating relations between the party and President Klaus, saying it is more difficult to attack a presidential candidate. The next Czech president must be chosen by early 2013, either by direct or indirect election.
A monument to Czechoslovak Legionaries who died in Russia fighting the Communists in 1918 was unveiled in Chelyabinsk on Thursday. The ceremony was attended by an official delegation and several hundred locals. An earlier memorial to the 262 dead and missing soldiers had been erected privately by local people, but was destroyed under the Soviet regime. Chelyabinsk was the scene of the Czechoslovaks’ initial revolt against Bolshevik authorities, which led to their well-known march to return home eastward. More than 4,000 of the 60,000 legionaries who fought in Russia died there. A number of memorials in Siberia commemorating the soldiers have been reconstructed since the fall of communism.
Nine out of ten poor people over 65 in the Czech Republic are women, according to a report compiled for the government. The gender equality report for 2010 says that marks the highest such percentage in Europe. Women constitute some 56% of all people over 65 in the country, but 87 percent of all poor people of that age group. The report states that the reason is the markedly lower pensions that women receive compared to men of the same age. Most women have had lower salaries throughout their economic career than men, which is then reflected in their pensions. Male pensioners had average monthly pensions of 11,685 crowns in last June, compared to 9,558 crowns for women. According to the report, gender equality must be asserted in the labour market now, in order to prevent further rise in the difference between women and men´s salaries in the future.
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