EU Commissioner Günther Verheugen has said that the EU will have to deal with the condition Czech President Václav Klaus set down for ratifying the Lisbon treaty. Mr Verheugen told the German radio station Deutschlandfunk on Sunday that heads of governments of EU members states will have to see if and how the condition could be met.
The Czech president announced earlier this month he would not finalize the treaty’s ratification unless the Czech Republic is granted an opt-out concerning possible property claims from ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia. However, Commissioner Verheugen said he did not believe the EU’s reform document could lead to that. Mr Verheugen, who is German, also blamed Bavaria’s Christian Social Union party for keeping the issue of the expulsion alive.
Meanwhile, the Slovak prime minister, Robert Fico, told Czech TV on Sunday that his country might push for an opt-out similar to that pursued by President Klaus. Mr Fico said his government would decide depending on whether the Czech demand is successful.
The Czech education minister, Miroslava Kopicová, told Czech TV on Sunday that in reaction to the Plzeň law school’s fast-track degrees scandal, her ministry would carry out an audit of all Czech universities. Ms Kopicová said the ministry has already launched an audit of all of the country’s law faculties; Czech Republic’s public universities should be audited next, followed by Czech private higher education institutes.
In September allegations surfaced concerning fast-track degrees, plagiarism and missing dissertations at the law faculty of the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň. The dean and two vice-deans of the faculty have stepped down, and the ministry has filed a lawsuit in connection with the scandal.
Czech Airlines could make profit in 2010 if the company is re-structured, CEO Radomír Lašák told Czech TV on Sunday. The state-owned firm should cut 1,000 of 4,600 jobs and keep 45 aircraft. In August, Czech Airlines posted a loss of 1.83 billion crowns, or more than 105 million US dollars. The Czech government is planning to privatize the national carrier; the sole bidder, UNIMEX, offered the state one billion crowns. The cabinet is scheduled to decide on the company’s privatization on October 26.
The Temelín nuclear power plant in south Bohemia postponed on Sunday the re-launch of one of the plant’s two reactors. The reactor was to be re-launched and r-connected to the grid on Sunday after a two-month shutdown during which fuel and parts of a low-pressure turbine were replaced. A spokesman for the energy giant ČEZ said the turbine was still being calibrated. Further schedule will be announced on Monday.
The novel Saturnin, by Zdeněk Jirotka, was voted the most popular Czech book in a Czech TV survey on Saturday. Saturnin, a humorous novel about a quirky yet perfectly proper butler, was published in 1942 and made into a film in 1994. It recently appeared in an English translation. The 1855 novel Babička, or The Grandmother, by Božena Němcová, finished second in the Czech version of BBC’s The Big Read, while the third most popular book with Czech readers is the French novella The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupéry. More than 320,000 TV viewers took part in the survey.
The UNESCO agency is concerned that a tunnel complex which is being constructed in Prague might harm the city’s historic centre, the news website aktualne.cz reported on Sunday. The agency will therefore send a mission to the Czech capital to examine the situation on the spot. The Blanka tunnel, which is to form part of a planned ring road around the city, runs only a few hundred metres from the protected area of Prague Castle. City officials said the tunnel will not damage any of the capital’s historic monuments.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová lost to Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 3:6 and 4:6 in the final of the WTA event in Linz, Austria, on Sunday The unseeded Czech did not put up much resistance, and was always behind Wickmmayer, seeded third, who converted the first match point. For 19-year-old Kvitová, Linz was the second WTA event final in her career.
Chelsea’s goalkeeper Petr Čech complained about the referee in Saturday’s game against Aston Villa, which Chelsea lost 2:1. The host team scored both goals after corner kicks. Petr Čech wrote on his website that before the second goal, Aston Villa’s Carew pulled his jersey and right hand, which prevented him from catching the ball.
Zdeněk Štybar finished third at a cyclo-cross World Cup event in Plzeň, west Bohemia, on Sunday. Belgian Niels Albert clinched victory, followed by Sven Nijs, also from Belgium. Štybar currently ranks second after the season’s second World Cup event. Another Czech, Radomír Šimůnek, finished seventh.
After several days of heavy snowing and strong winds, the start of the week should be overcast, with rain showers and snowing in higher places. Highest day temperatures will range between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.
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