The Czech Republic’s security council will meet on Tuesday to analyze the Czech Republic’s counter terrorism strategy and learn from other countries’ know-how in helping victims of terrorism, the news agency ČTK reported on Monday. The council will also discuss drills related to terrorist threats. The meeting will be attended by President Václav Klaus in his role as the supreme commander of the Czech Armed Forces. The country’s security council last met two months ago when it discussed funding for the army at a time of government spending cuts.
The second instalment of the Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities kicked off in the Czech capital on Monday. The festival programme offers some 80 concerts, exhibitions, parties, debates and other events. The festival, held under the auspices of Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, received backing from 11 embassies including those of the US, UK, Switzerland, and others. For their part, Czech conservatives groups have voiced protests against the festival, dismissing it as an expression of “homosexualism”. The festival will culminate on Saturday with a march through the city centre.
Fishermen in Tábor, in the south of the country, on Monday began removing fish from a local lake to allow for the cleaning of the lake’s basin. The fish are stunned with electricity, produced by a submersible generator, before they are relocated to a nearby river or another part of the lake. It’s not clear how many fish are in the lake which was last cleared 180 years ago, the project’s manager told the ČTK news agency. Cleaning and de-mudding the 51-hectare large Lake Jordan will cost some 375 million crowns and should be finished in 2014.
A concert hall in České Budějovice, nicknamed Stingray, designed by the
late architect Jan Kaplický, could be completed in 2015, the head of the
local music fans’ association said. The project, which is the Czech-born
architect’s last design to be built in his native country, is expected to
cost around two billion crowns; however, the investor of the project has
not been disclosed. The supporters of the project hope that they will
secure all permits by the end of the year and construction should begin in
December 2013. The new concert hall could then open to the public in
Jan Kaplický, who died in 2009 aged 72, also designed a new National Library building in Prague, known as the Blob. However, the project was dropped under pressure from Prague City Hall.
The operating costs of Czech health insurance companies are the lowest in Europe, according to an OECD report released on Monday. Over the last 20 years, the costs decreased from 12 to 3.2 percent of the companies’ total expenses. The OECD list of insurance firms by their operational costs is topped by Germany where the expenses amount to 6.8 percent. Experts say that operating costs in the Czech Republic were driven down by competition among various health insurers. The country’s largest health insurance company, the VZP, has six million clients, followed by the Czech Interior Ministry’s insurer, with around 1.2 million clients.
A drunk man was run over by a train in northern Bohemia on Sunday morning escaped with bruised nose, a spokeswoman for the regional emergency services said. The man was spotted by the train’s driver lying on the tracks inside a tunnel. The driver stopped the train and called emergency services. When they pulled the man, who they said smelled of alcohol, from under the train, he had no serious injuries, except for bruised nose, a fact later confirmed in the hospital. The incident halted railway traffic on the line for some two hours.
The Czech Transportation Ministry is planning to increase the speed limit fro 90 to 110 km/h on selected 1st class roads, Czech TV reported on Sunday. The pilot project will be launched on the road between the cities of Pardubice and Hradec Králové, in eastern Bohemia, in the autumn, and other roads should follow. The ministry is also planning to rename expressways as motorways which would mean the network of motorways in the country would be extended by some 300 km overnight.
Several Czech NGOs including the human rights and charity group People in Need on Sunday criticized the government for not taking seriously the issues faced by foreigners working in the country as domestic workers. The NGOs said the government failed to move and ratify an international treaty which would improve the workers’ conditions. The activists dismissed the government’s argument that the numbers of foreign domestic workers are very low, less than 0.02 percent of all foreigners working in the country. Pavla Redlová from People in Need said that their real numbers were much higher, and that they often work and live in poor conditions. The international treaty dealing with the issue will next be debated in the Czech Senate.
Saturday became one of this year’s deadliest days on Czech roads as six people died in car crashes across the country, according to police figures. Saturday’s victims include a 27-year-old cyclist who died near Teplice after he was hit by a car, a 58-year-old woman who entered the opposite lane on a major Prague-České Budejovice road, killing herself and injuring three others.
The Czech foreign minister, and head of the coalition TOP 09 party, Karel Schwarzenberg has assembled his team for the presidential campaign, the news agency ČTK reported on Sunday. Businessman Marek Vocel, who was one of the founders of anti-communist NGO Opona, has become the leader of the team that also includes producer David Gaydečka. Mr Schwarzenberg, who ranks third or fourth in most polls of the presidential candidates, is planning to officially launch his campaign in September, some four months ahead of the first ever direct presidential elections held in the country.
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