As of this year Czech producers will have to use bigger print and put more information on food labels than they have hereto. The change is in line with EU regulations and there is a fine of up to 10 million crowns for violating it. Some producers have complained that in view of the size of some products they will have to add folded leaflets to them containing the information or restrict the number of language versions on the labels.
Former prime minister and European labour commissioner Vladimír Špidla is to become chief advisor to the country’s likely next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Mr. Spidla, who was considered to be a hot candidate for the post of labour minister in the emerging government, confirmed having accepted the offer on Friday. The post of labour minister in the new government will thus most likely go to Social Democrat Petr Krčál, a councilor in the Vysočina region. The list of ministerial nominees, which Bohuslav Sobotka submitted to the president on Friday evening, is to be made public on Monday after the three parties of the emerging centre-right coalition – the Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats - sign a coalition agreement.
Prague may be part of a European-wide arms-smuggling network operated by Palestinians, former chief-of-staff General Jiri Sedivy said in an interview for the Czech internet site Aktualne.cz. As many as 70 automatic rifles were found at the Prague residence of the late Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, according to unconfirmed reports carried by the CTK news agency. The general said he feared that the discovery in Prague could be the tip of the iceberg and suggested that Palestinian embassies in other European capitals could contain similar storages of illegal weapons.
Czech fugitive and alleged crime boss Radovan Krejčíř made an urgent application before the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday seeking to have a judgment denying him bail overturned. Krejčíř’s lawyer argued that despite the two attempts on his life the 45-year-old Krejčíř would not flee the country if released on bail, nor try to influence witnesses. Krejčíř and three others, who have been released on bail, face charges of kidnapping, assault and attempted murder.
The body of the late Palestinian ambassador to Prague, Jamal al-Jamal will be repatriated on Monday. The ambassador’s daughter Rana, who claims her father was the victim of a terrorist attack, said the day of the funeral had already been set but refused to disclose any details. Meanwhile, the police have not yet released information regarding what kind of explosive caused the blast that killed the ambassador in his Prague residence.
Labour Ministry officials and representatives of the firm Fujitsu Technology Solutions are to meet on Monday to debate the legal implications of the decision to shut down the welfare payments system which the company had provided since 2012. The company won a contract on running the system but the Czech anti-monopoly regulator last year cancelled the tender over breach of rules. Labour offices are now struggling to deliver payments using a previous, now-outdated system and the Labour Ministry says Fujitsu had no reason to act rashly since its system could have remained in operation on the grounds of an addendum to the contract signed. The Labour Ministry has warned that thousands of people could get their welfare contributions late.
The Czech foreign ministry has expressed grave concerned over the discovery. It said diplomats' weapons were subject to local laws on arms which require registration and licensing and none of those found were registered in the Czech Republic. For the embassy to store illegal weapons would be in breach of the Vienna Convention that governs the activities of diplomats and embassies and the Czech Foreign Ministry has said it would demand an explanation. It has also expressed understanding for a request from the Suchdol district which has asked the authorities to move the Palestinian embassy outside its premises since it presents a security threat to the public.
A total of 24 people died in accidents at rail crossings in the Czech Republic in 2013, which is the lowest figure in the past 11 years, Rail Safety Inspection spokesman Martin Drapal told the CTK news agency. Despite the improvement the death toll at rail crossings remains extremely high. In recent years Czech Railways has been working to modernize rail crossings many of which still lack mechanical barriers.
Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka on Friday met briefly with President Milos Zeman to brief him on the proposed line-up of the emerging centre-left government. Mr. Sobotka refused to comment on the outcome of the meeting saying he had submitted a list of ministerial nominees to the head of state and that the three parties of the emerging government coalition would sign a coalition agreement on Monday as planned. He made no mention of whether or when he might be named prime minister. There has been speculation that the president is likely to find some nominees unacceptable and may want to get actively involved in the selection process or try to stall the process of appointing a new government. Under an agreement reached between the three potential coalition partners the Social Democrats will get seven seats in the new cabinet, the AN0 party six and the Christian Democrats three.
Czech National Bank governor Miroslav Singer has been voted European central bank governor of the year for 2014 by The Banker magazine, according to the bank’s spokesperson Marek Petrus. The Czech central bank governor was reportedly elected for his decision to launch interventions on foreign currency markets in order to weaken the crown in view of maintaining monetary stability and revitalizing the economy.
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