At the request of Czech Radio under the Freedom of Information Act, the country’s Foreign Ministry has released bonus figures received by employees at the ministry last year. According to the public broadcaster, the ministry released the information anonymously, declining to reveal concrete names. The ministry cited privacy legislation as the reason for the modification. The highest bonus paid out to a ministry last year, according to the broadcaster, was 440,000 crowns, the equivalent of around 16 thousand euros. That went to an employee designated simply as Náměstek 12 (Deputy 12).
The Association of Regions in the Czech Republic wants the Czech state to guarantee the legitimacy of addenda signed between bus drivers and transport companies. The addenda, approved by the government last year, was to see minimal bus drivers’ wages raised by around one-third, to 98.10 crowns per hour (the equivalent of around 3.6 euros). Call for a state guarantee on Friday was led by the chairwoman of the association, governor of the region of Karlovy Vary, Jana Vildumetzová.
The leader of the Christian Democrats, Pavel Bělobradek, has said that the emerging coalition with the STAN party of mayors and independents could present a viable alternative in this year’s parliamentary elections to parties on the political right and left as well as the ANO movement. He added that the two parties would also work well in the Senate and on the European level but also stressed that the agreement had not been finalized and that details remained to be worked out. The Christian Democrats are the junior coalition government party, winning 14 seats in the last election, a comeback after being eliminated in the 2010 elections. STAN previously paired with right-wing party TOP 09. Polls routinely put ANO, led by Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, as the favourite to win later this year.
A hepatitis A epidemic is continuing in the region of South Moravia, Renata Ciupek, the head of a local epidemiology station confirmed on Friday. According to the official, six new cases were confirmed. All of the patients had come into contact with others who had caught the illness. The patients are from the Brno and Blansko areas. So far this year, there have been 24 new cases of Hepatitis A registered; last year the overall number was 448.
Liberec Zoo has lost a rare spot-billed pelican to bird flu. The female is the second specimen to die from the disease at the facility, after a swan succumbed to the illness; a veterinarian at the zoo, Roman Šebesta, said both specimens had died from the same strain, H5N5. Three other specimens of the spot-billed pelican at the zoo will not be killed as the animal is endangered.
The Czech Ice Hockey Association paid tribute to former hockey forward and national squad coach, Josef Augusta who died on Thursday at the age of 70. The coach, who managed the squad during the so-called Golden era at the World Champions from 1999 to 2001 with the team winning the championship three times in a row, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. He had been diagnosed in 2015. As a player, Mr Augusta won the silver medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck.
Air pollution levels somewhat improved in parts of the Czech Republic on Friday after several days of poor conditions. Six regions of 14, however, are still suffering from a higher concentration of dangerous particles exceeding the allowed limit. Production at plants in Olomouc had to be scaled back as a result. Other regions affected are Central Bohemia, Hradec Králové, Pardubice, Zlín and most of Moravia-Silesia. By contrast, restrictions were lifted in the regions of Ostrava and Plzeň. Most of the country was hit by smog beginning last week.
Social Democrat prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said that a coalition with the communists is a possibility following the next lower house elections due in October. In an interview with the business daily, Hospodářské Noviny, he said that he did not expect a purely left-wing coalition to result but a pro-European one with a social perspective could. Sobotka added that ANO leader Andrej Babiš had not ruled out a deal with the communist party either. The Social Democrats have traditionally ruled out a coalition with the communists under their so-called Bohumín declaration. Sobotka said times had changed since that motion was adopted in 1995.
In football, Sparta Prague suffered a debacle in the away leg of their Europa League tie against Rostov on Thursday night. Sparta lost 4:0 and after the 31st minute were down to 10 men after Ivory Coast midfielder Konate received a red card. It’s the worst European defeat for the Czech club since 1981. Sparta will likely be playing just for pride in the return leg in Prague on February 23.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’