On a request by the American government, Prague’s Ruzyně airport has tightened security measures on US-bound flights, an airport spokeswoman said on Sunday. The request came days after a thwarted terrorist attack on a transatlantic jet. The spokeswoman did not specify the nature of the measures but said they will not affect the length of check-in procedures. During the winter season, there is only one direct flight between Prague and the United States, operated five times a week by Delta Air Lines.
A number of countries tightened security at airports after a Nigerian national attempted on Friday to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner with 278 passengers on board. Besides the Czech Republic, the US government has asked the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands and other countries to adopt additional security restrictions.
President Václav Klaus signed into law on Sunday the 2010 state budget bill with a record deficit of 163 billion crowns, or nearly 8.9 billion US dollars. Mr Klaus, who had criticized the budget over the massive deficit, singed the bill during a live talk show on the commercial TV station Prima.
The caretaker Czech government drafted the 2010 budget with a deficit amounting to 5.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. However, the lower house of the Czech Parliament made last-minute changes to the draft, increasing the deficit to 5.7 percent of GDP. Prime Minister Jan Fischer then warned that the European Commission was likely to launch proceedings against the Czech Republic as a result.
More than 6,000 people queued for hours in Kutná Hora, central Bohemia, on Sunday to see a rare 15th century miniature depicting the town’s silver mining industry in the Middle Ages. The region’s officials paid more than 600,000 pound sterling for the artefact in an auction at Sotheby’s in London earlier this month. On Sunday, the miniature went on a display for one day only before it is featured in a new gallery that is to open in Kutná Hora next May.
Most Czech companies expect a slight economic improvement in 2010, according to a survey by the news agency ČTK among Czech corporate associations released on Sunday. Most firms also believe that a recovery from the global economic downturn will last longer. The Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Association said that export-oriented firms should recover faster than companies focusing on consumer markets, as a further drop in retail demand is expected next year. However, 9 out of 10 companies expect to make profit in 2010. Most firms are not planning lay-offs for next year. The Czech Republic’s Confederation of Industry said the in 2010 and 11, Czech economy is likely to maintain the output registered in November and December this year, with the unemployment rate remaining at around 10 percent.
The town of Litvínov, northern Bohemia, has approved nine urban revitalization projects of socially excluded areas, a town’s spokesperson said on Sunday. The town earmarked over 54 million crowns for the projects submitted by the real estate owners in the troubled neighbourhood of Janov. The area, which is home to a larhe Romany community, saw last year the worst clashes between neo-Nazis and the police in the country’s history.
Czech men are more frequently affected by sexually transmitted diseased than women, according to figures by the Health Ministry released on Sunday. The incidence of syphilis has been 42 percent higher among men than women in the last five years, while the incidence of gonorrhoea 150 percent higher. In total, 1667 Czechs were infected in 2008 with either disease, which was 2.3 percent less than in the previous year.
Two parachutists suffered injuries after a heavy landing on Prague’s Vítkov Hill on Sunday. One of the men is in serious condition, Prague police said. The jumps were part of a public sporting event on the hill, situated between the city’s neighbourhoods of Žižkov and Karlín.
Czech strikers Robert Lang and Martin Hanzal, of the Phoenix Coyotes, helped to match their team’s record of nine straight home wins after beating the Los Angeles Kings 3:2 on Saturday. Martin Hanzal scored one goal and Robert Lang registered one assist in the game. Both players were named the stars of the game.
The Czech Republic lost 10:1 to Sweden in the opening game of the U20 Hockey World Championship in Canada on Saturday. The Swedes, who are defending silver from the previous championship and are one of the tournament’s favourites, clearly outmatched the Czechs who conceded four goals in the first period alone. The Czech Republic is next playing Finland on Sunday, hoping to secure a chance of advancing from the championship’s preliminary stage.
The current mild conditions should last well into the next week, with cloudy skies, occasional snow and highest day temperatures ranging between -1 and + 4 degrees Celsius.
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