State incentives have been cleared for the Danish firm Lego to invest 1.73 billion crowns in the extension of its plant at Kladno on the outskirts of Prague. The government aid totals 46 million, around 5.0 percent of the total spending on the project to add production, warehouse, and administrative space to the current site. Around 600 extra jobs should be created by the time the work is completed in 2017.
Wages of state employees including teachers should rise by 3.5 percent next year according to an agreement reached at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. According to a report by the news server iDnes, minister of interior Milan Chovanec said that talks about the level of pay rises for police and firemen will continue with. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš had been looking to keep the wage raise lower. Christian Democrats have already achieved one of their goals on Tuesday with an agreement for more generous tax breaks for families with children.
Around 1.5 million Czechs are faced with poverty or material deprivation according to survey results released Wednesday by the Czech Statistical Office. The actual proportion of the population threatened with poverty actually fell last year to 8.6 percent from 9.6 percent, the office said. That total includes around 45 percent of those without jobs. The office said that although average household incomes rose in absolute terms last year they fell in real terms once higher costs were taken into account. The total facing material deprivation, defined as lacking basic household equipment, came to around 679,000.
Heavy rain and flooding results in almost 400 call-outs for firemen across the country on Tuesday. The most calls for help came from the Prague, the Moravia-Silesia, Central Bohemia and the Ústí regions with frequent demands to pump out flooded cellars. Sixteen people were evacuated at the eastern town of Rychnov nad Kněžnou as the river level rose. River levels were at level three danger level around the Western town of Rokycany on Wednesday.
In ice hockey, Czech forward Tomáš Plekanec has helped keep alive the Stanley Cup hopes of the Montreal Canadiens. Plekanec scored in the 7:4 victory over the New York Rangers bringing the series to 2:3 in the best of seven semi-final confrontation. The sixth match in the series takes place in New York on Thursday.
A court in Olomouc On Wednesday allowed a man accused in a methanol scandal trial to be bailed from prison on payment of 15 million crowns. The bail was set for Tomás Březina, e the brother of the alleged head of the hard spirits mafia, Radek. Bail was agreed to in part because Tomás Březina has cooperated with police and spilled a lot of the beans on how the hard spirits business, including a massive underground storage facility, operated.
Documents and recollections of the head of office and friend of former Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš, Jaromír Smutný, are being prepared for publication, the daily paper Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. The more than 8,000 documents covering the birth of Czechoslovakia at the end of WWI, Beneš’ exile in London during WWII and communist putch of 1948 have been stored at New York’s Columbia University since Smutný’s death in 1964. Some extracts were published Wednesday, the 130th anniversary of Beneš‘ birth.
Ondřej Moravec, who earned three medals at February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi has been named Czech biathlonist of the year. Moravec, who is 29, finished ahead of Gabriela Soukalová and Jaroslav Soukup in the poll of members of the Czech Biathlon Union. Ondřej Rybář, who coached a Czech team that enjoyed unprecedented success at the Olympics, was presented with the trainer of the year award at a ceremony at Prague’s SaZaZu venue on Tuesday night.
The coalition government will only start talks on choosing the Czech Republic’s next European Commissioner after the parties have agreed on the parameters of next year’s budget, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters. Mr. Sobotka’s Social Democrats have put forward Pavel Mertlík, a former finance minister, while ANO are backing Pavel Telička, who was a temporary European Commissioner in 2004, and the Christian Democrats have nominated MEP Zuzana Roithová. There have been suggestions another, compromise candidate may be sought. The prime minister has said he hopes to see agreement on an outline 2015 budget by the end of the week.
Prior to leaving office next month, the Slovak president, Ivan Gašparovič, has paid a final visit to his Czech counterpart, Miloš Zeman in Prague. On Tuesday Mr. Gašparovič presented Mr. Zeman with his country’s highest honour, the Order of the White Double Cross. Having invited his guest to a hunt at his Lány residence, the Czech head of state gave Mr. Gašparovič hunting boots and binoculars. Mr. Zeman said it was a pity his counterpart was departing and that he had been a friend to the Czech Republic.
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