Daily news summary News

31-03-2006

Several dozen municipalities still on high flood alert

Dozens of municipalities around the country are on high flood alert, as rain and melting snow continues to swell rivers. Several thousand soldiers and emergency crews are busy reinforcing river banks, securing flood defences, clearing blocked roads, and helping residents leave their homes. The worst affected areas are southern Moravia's Znojmo region around the River Dyje and the northern city Usti nad Labem. Over 10,000 people have already been evacuated but local authorities expect that number to rise as more rain is forecast until the end of the week. Four casualties have also been reported.

Government earmarks 380 million for flood-affected regions

At a special session on Thursday, Cabinet earmarked 380 million crowns (15.5 million US dollars) to aid the regions affected by the floods. The money is to be used for mobile homes, food, the protection of property, and the reconstruction of damaged roads, for example. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, who cut short a visit to Egypt in order to attend the government meeting, was also flown to southern Moravia in a helicopter on Thursday night to inspect the extent of damage caused.

Head of Morava River Water Management Company fired

The head of the Morava River basin water management company, Miroslav Konecny, has been sacked. Mr Konecny was dismissed by Agriculture Minister Jan Mladek on Friday after several municipalities affected by the floods complained that they were left in the dark about rising water levels. Konecny will be replaced on Saturday by copany vice president for finances Pavel Mylbachr.

Museums and zoo on alert in Prague

The capital city, where water levels of the Vltava River have been constantly rising, is also on alert. Though the situation has not been declared critical, several museums have moved their exhibits to other venues and the Prague Zoo is preparing to evacuate its animals. Mayor Pavel Bem has assured Prague residents that the city is well prepared for the threat of flooding.

Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry visits Prague

The EC Vice-President and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, Guenter Verheugen, is on a one-day visit to Prague. The former EU commissioner for enlargement is due to hold talks with politicians and entrepreneurs. At a meeting with Czech Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Jiri Havel, the liberalisation of the energy market dominated the talks. Mr Verheugen is also due to visit the Senate, participate in a discussion on economic growth and employment in the European Union, and meet Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. This is Mr Verheugen's first official visit to Prague since EU expansion in 2004.

Brno women's basketball team to play in European league final

The Brno women's basketball team has advanced to the final of the European League Final Four by defeating French champion US Valenciennes 61-54. Brno will now play the winner of tonight's other semifinal between VBM Samara and Lietuvos Vilnius in the championship game in Brno on Sunday.

Hans Christian Andersen night

Thousands of children are expected to spend Friday night at some 500 libraries, schools, hospitals, and other institutions across the country. The event called Hans Christian Andersen night is being held in the Czech Republic for the sixth year to mark the anniversary of the birth of the Danish storybook writer Anderson. The children write and stage plays, take part in contests, sing, dance, read fairy tales, and spend the night in sleeping bags.

Weather

The next few days are forecast with more scattered showers. Day temperatures will range from 13 to 17 degrees Celsius.

31-03-2006