The Czech government has approached international banks to gauge their interest in a new emission of government bonds, the Reuters news agency reported on Monday, quoting a London-based market source. It is not clear when the new emission could be put out, the report says. The Czech government last issued bonds in October which sold for nearly 70 billion crowns.
The Czech Republic is on the verge of a flu epidemic, the Health Ministry said on Monday. Some 30 people have been hospitalized with flu over the past seven days, five of whom have died, a spokeswoman for the ministry said. The country’s chief hygiene officer said an epidemic could break out in the coming days. The most common virus strains registered in the Czech Republic in recent days include the swine flu virus A(H1N1) as well as A(H3N2) and B. Around one million people contract flu each year.
Presidential candidate Miloš Zeman has got an edge over his rivals in the race for the country’s top post. The results of a poll conducted by the ppm factum agency indicate that the former prime minister would win the first round of direct presidential elections scheduled for this Friday, followed closely by another former head of cabinet Jan Fischer. The poll shows Miloš Zeman in the lead with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Jan Fischer with 20.1 percent. Composer Vladimir Franz has placed third with 11.4 percent, followed by Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg with 11 percent and Social Democrat Senator Jiří Dienstbier with 10.6 percent. Only the two strongest candidates will advance to the second round of elections, to be held a fortnight after the first.
A deep sinkhole appeared in the early hours of Monday in the village of Horní Jiřetín, in the north of the Czech Republic. The hole, some six metres wide and eight meters deep, formed above an old shaft, part of a mine founded in the 1870s. The sinkhole caused no damages. The authorities said they would fill the hole with soil; no other measures should be necessary if the earth movement stops, a local official said.
Talks are expected to take place in the coming days regarding the future of the coalition government. The smallest party in government, LIDEM, which announced its decision to leave the coalition in connection with the sacking of Karolína Peake from the post of defense minister shortly before Christmas, has nodded to the prime minister’s proposal for fresh negotiations. The talks should address the division of portfolios after LIDEM was forced to relinquish the defense ministry. TOP 09 has already said it would be unacceptable for the Civic Democrats to hold both the transport and defense ministries.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas, who counter-signed the amnesty has also come under fire over the decision. Under Czech law the government is ultimately responsible for the amnesty and the Civic Democratic Party’s coalition partners say they were not informed about the decision. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09 has refused to take responsibility for the controversial amnesty and the head of LIDEM Karolina Peake has said she expects an explanation at the government’s next session.
Prague City Transport is temporarily reducing the number of trams and busses in operation. A spokesman for the company said this was in response to lower demand at the start of the year, when the number of passengers regularly drops by about 10 percent. Between now and February 17th tram intervals will be extended from ten to twelve minutes, and from five to six on the main routes. Bus lines will also have longer intervals.
In line with the amnesty, Czech prisons have already released over 6,000 inmates. Another one thousand prisoners should be released in the coming hours. Overall the amnesty will relate to approximately 32 thousand people, among them 14 thousand with suspended sentences, 12 thousand sentenced to community work and 3 thousand currently under house arrest. Some cases will be closed. The amnestied crimes will not appear in people’s criminal records.
A group of senators across the political spectrum is preparing a complaint to the Constitutional Court with regard to the scope of the amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus. According to Senator Alena Dernerová they want to try to get part of the amnesty annulled by the court. Among the most controversial points of the broad amnesty is the fact that it will most likely see the release of people suspected of massive corruption and embezzlement reaching into the top echelons of power. The opposition has accused the president of sweeping corruption cases relating to the privatization process from the 1990s under the carpet.
Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka has said his party would support lawyer Stanislav Kreček for the post of deputy to the Ombudsman. Mr. Kreček is one of two nominees for the post proposed by President Klaus. The other is the former supreme state attorney Renata Vesecká. The lower house is to vote on the matter by mid-February.
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
The Czechoslovak occultist plot to kill Hitler by magic
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
Czech companies struggling with labour shortage