Forecasters have extended a tropical weather warning to the whole of Bohemia and the South Moravia region, with temperatures of up to 34 degrees expected in low-lying areas on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute also said that severe storms could hit several parts of the country on Wednesday. Temperature records have been broken at numerous weather stations in recent days and hundreds of people have been treated for heat-related health problems.
The organisers of next week’s United Islands of Prague festival say that over 150 musical acts from nearly two dozen countries will perform during the three-day event. Concerts will be free at eight venues from Thursday to Saturday, apart from shows at the city’s Kinsky garden and a performance by hip hop star DJ Shadow at MeetFactory.
President Miloš Zeman says he is in favour of the revival of a project to construct a controversial modern building nicknamed “the Blob” on Prague’s Letná Plain. The futuristic design of a new National Library building by the late architect Jan Kaplický divided opinion and met resistance from some politicians when it was mooted towards the end of the last decade. Speaking on a visit to Liberec, Mr. Zeman said he would try to intercede on behalf of the project. In recent months there have been fresh suggestions that the Blob could be built in Prague, but possibly not at the originally intended site.
Police are investigating how a circus sea lion died on Monday while being transported between two towns in Moravia. A police spokesperson said there was a suspicion of neglect in connection with the animal’s death, while a representative of the State Veterinary Authority said transporting animals that need to be in water was highly difficult during the kind of hot weather the Czech Republic is currently experiencing. Fire officers saved a second sea lion belonging to the Princ circus when they cooled it down with water and filled its tank, which had been empty.
The lower house is expected to vote on whether to strip MP Zuzana Kailová of her parliamentary immunity, opening the way for prosecution. As a former town councillor in Ustí nad Labem, north of Prague, Ms. Kailová is believed to have been involved in a dubious public tender. She faces charges of abuse of office resulting in damages to the tune of one million crowns. The MP has urged the lower chamber to open the way for prosecution saying she wants to clear her name in court.
The Czech Republic would like a strong economic-oriented portfolio for its next EU commissioner, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told newsmen after Monday’s cabinet meeting. The prime minister said five specific portfolios had been discussed, but he would not specify which particular posts the Czech Republic was interested in. The question of finding a suitable candidate for the post has been shelved until it is clear what portfolio the new commissioner will take up. Among the nominees put forward a the Czech Republic’s first EU commissioner Pavel Telička, former finance minister Pavel Mertlík and outgoing MEP Zuzana Roithová. The current Czech commissioner for EU enlargement Štefan Fuele is due to step down in the autumn.
The health authorities have issued further warnings to the public in connection with the ongoing heat wave in the central Europe. Paramedics report a heightened number of emergency calls around the country with hundreds of people reportedly collapsing from dehydration and heat exposure. People have been warned not to exert themselves in the heat and significantly increase their intake of liquids. Tuesday is expected to be a critical day with temperatures hitting 36 degrees Celsius.
The Czech Republic may prevent Albania getting candidate status in the EU over a drawn-out dispute between the Czech state-owned firm ČEZ and the Albanian state, the ctk news agency reports citing well-informed sources in Brussels. The Czech Republic filed an international arbitration suit against Tirana after the Albanian authorities revoked ČEZ’s license, seized its assets and forced it out of the country last year. ČEZ is seeking compensation for damage to its investment in the power distribution company ČEZ Shperndarje, which it modernized and expanded at the cost of 100 million euros. Talks between Prague and Tirana on the matter are currently deadlocked. The EC backed Albania’s candidate status in the EU earlier this month and a vote on the issue is expected in the course of the summer in all 28 member states.
The government has plans to revive the Council for Sustainable Development, the ctk news agency reports. The council, which will encompass the former National Economic Council, will have 31 members and will be headed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. It should be made up of cabinet ministers, leading entrepreneurs, academics and non-profit sector representatives. An economic advisory body to the government was set up in 2003 but its influence was gradually marginalized. The National Economic Council was set up in 2009 and disbanded in August of last year.
The Labour Ministry has announced that the concept of social housing it is working on should be ready by September. The concept should clarify who would be eligible for social housing, who would be responsible for it and who would cover the cost of building thousands of new flats for the needy. According to government data there are 30,000 homeless people in the Czech Republic and over 100,000 at risk of losing their homes.
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