The Czech government is offering quake-hit Haiti rescue teams and financial aid. Prime Minister Jan Fischer said on Thursday that the Czech Republic was ready to send its rescue teams with sniffer dogs as well as emergency aid and was waiting to hear from the authorities in Haiti. The European Commission is to debate coordinated financial aid to Haiti on Friday and the Czech government is expected to make a decision on financial aid at its upcoming session on Monday. Meanwhile Czech charity organizations are mobilizing funds and workers to help the victims of Tuesday’s devastating earthquake.
The Czech Labour Ministry has denied a report in Wednesday’s edition of Lidové Noviny that money is running out for old-age pensions and the shortage could make itself felt as early as this autumn. Czech Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Šimerka has assured the public that the money is there and pensions will be paid out as mandatory expenditures. The Labour Ministry has admitted though that social expenditures in 2010 could be several billion crowns higher than revenues. Experts say that in view of the country’s growing budget deficit and aging population a reform of the pension system should not be put off any further.
The Supreme Administrative Court has postponed indefinitely a ruling on
the abolition of the extreme-right Workers’ Party. Judge Vojtěch
Šimíček said on Thursday that the case was adjourned and a verdict might
be passed in February. The announcement came after four days of hearings in
the course of which party leader Tomáš Vandas openly admitted the
party’s connections to the right-wing National Democratic Party of
Germany. The case for the dissolution of the Workers’ Party, was filed by
the Czech Interior Ministry which claims that the party’s activities and
statutes are in violation of Czech law.
The government’s prosecuting attorney Tomáš Sokol showed the court snapshots of extremist gatherings where members of the Workers’ Party are seen doing the Nazi salute or are seen in the company of leading German neo-Nazis. He said the party had become increasingly violent and that its main aim was to spread racist and xenophobic views in the Czech Republic. Party leader Tomáš Vandas described the court hearings as a political process.
The centre-right Civic Democrats have pledged not so support any bills that would increase the 2010 budget deficit. After a meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Jan Fischer, Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolánek said his party would pull its weight to prevent a further increase of the already exorbitant budget deficit for 2010. The draft budget now envisages a 163 billion crown deficit, but the end figure could be much higher due to the efforts of centre-left parties to increase social spending. Three parties have so far pledged to follow a policy of fiscal prudence – the Greens, TOP O9 and the Civic Democrats.
The Czech Republic will fail to meet the EU´s demand for cutting its
state budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP by 2013, Finance Minister
Eduard Janota said in Thursday’s edition of the daily Lidové noviny. He
said the government would have to officially disclose the news to Brussels
by the end of January, together with its convergence programme and exit
EU finance ministers warned the Czech Republic in early December that the country would have to cut its budget gap below 3 percent of GDP by 2013 if it is to be able to adopt the euro in the medium-term horizon. The Czech Republic’s 2009 deficit of 195 billion crowns, four times higher than expected, and its projected 2010 deficit of 163 billion, have thwarted the government’s plans.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tomáš Pojar is to be the country’s new ambassador to Israel, the CTK news agency reported on Thursday. He will be replacing Michael Žantovský who left the post late last year to become Czech ambassador to the United Kingdom. Mr. Pojar’s European agenda at the ministry will be taken over by the former ambassador to Slovakia Vladimir Galuška.
Car makers in November 2009 curbed the decline in Czech industrial output
to the slowest pace since the country was hit by the global economic crisis
a year ago, official data showed Thursday. Output fell by 0.1 percent on a
12-month basis last November, the best figure since September 2008,
following a 7.2 percent decline last October, the Czech Statistical Office
The Czech Republic is home to car plants run by Volkswagen's unit Škoda Auto, Toyota and Peugeot-Citroen's joint venture TPCA and South Korea's Hyundai. Employment in the industrial sector dropped by 12.5 percent and sales fell by 3.1 percent against a year ago, but the value of new contracts rose by 8.0 percent, mainly owing to car producers, statisticians said.
Real Zaragoza have signed versatile Czech midfielder Jiří Jarošík, to boost their squad. The 32-year-old former Chelsea and Celtic player has spent the last two years with Russia's Krylya Sovetov Samara. Zaragoza, who are second bottom in La Liga, have already signed on midfielder Eliseu and striker Humberto Souza.
Czech international Libor Sionko has left FC Copenhagen to return to Sparta Prague, the CTK news agency reported on Thursday. The 32-year-old midfielder, who played for Sparta between 1999-2003, signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Prague club. Sionko has played 39 matches for the national team and scored eight goals. Sparta are second in the Czech championship which is in its winter break.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, granted pardons to four people connected to the late crime boss František Mrázek and the convicted fugitive Tomáš Pitr, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. The newspaper said the four had been convicted on charges of tax evasion and fraud. Mr Klaus’s chancellor Jiri Weigl said the president was unaware of their connection to Mrázek and Pitr. He said it was not possible to tell from pardon requests who the applicant had done business with or was friends with. Poor health was the reason given for three of the pardons, while the fourth was issued so the recipient could look after her children.
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