The cabinet broke off talks on the 2012 budget on Wednesday over fresh demands for more money for the transport ministry. The junior coalition party Public Affairs has demanded an extra 9 billion crowns for the transport ministry threatening to torpedo the settlement on church restitutions in the lower house if its demand was not met. The ultimatum raised the ire of Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek who called it blackmail pure and simple and stressed that the proposed deficit of 105 billion crowns was not negotiable.
Over 100 containers of toxic waste from Ukraine will not be stored in the Czech Republic but in neighbouring Germany, the daily Právo reported on Wednesday. The paper which broke the story on Tuesday cited Ukrainian media reports as saying that Kiev has signed a contract with an unnamed Czech company on the import of over 100 containers of the toxic substance beryllium which was to be taken to an unnamed destination in the Czech Republic. Právo corrected the report in its Wednesday edition saying that although an unnamed Czech firm was involved in the deal the toxic waste was to be buried in unused mines in neighbouring Germany.
An amendment to the law seeks to introduce medicinal marihuana which would be available on prescription. The amendment being prepared by a commission of experts has received backing from the prime minister and is being strongly advocated by Public Affairs. Medicinal marihuana would be covered by health insurance under a similar model as that in effect in Canada or Israel.
The town of Nový Bor will employ Romany councilors as liaisons between the local authorities and the Roma minority. A number of projects – which should secure more jobs for the Roma and free-time activities for their children – is aimed at diffusing the growing ethnic tension between the majority population and the Romany minority. The situation deteriorated in the late summer following a brutal attack by Romanies on a local bar.
Police in the northern town of Varnsdorf are gearing up for another anti-Romany protest over the weekend. Over 300 people have confirmed participation on Facebook. In an effort to diffuse growing ethnic tension the local authorities have called a public debate on the problems behind the wave of anti-Romany sentiment.
Hockey fans gathered in Zlín on Wednesday to pay their last respects to Czech hockey star Karel Rachunek who died in last week’s tragic plane crash in Russia. Over a thousand people stood in pouring rain on the town’s main square for an open-air memorial ceremony to the 2010 gold medalist. The funeral at 2pm in the hockey star’s home town was private.
The town of Ostrava has scrapped the municipal regulation on free city transport at times of heavy smog for lack of public funds. The regulation was part of a package of measures intended to encourage the city’s inhabitants to leave their cars at home. Mayor Petr Kajnar said the city could no longer afford to finance the operation. He said the measure would be brought back when the city could afford it.
Nearly 46 percent of Czechs believe that the current debt crisis will result in the disintegration of the Eurozone and 84 percent of Czechs are convinced that other EU member states face similar problems as Greece, according to the results of a poll by Medea Research. Two thirds of respondents also expressed concern regarding the possible negative impact of the debt crisis on developments in the Czech Republic and their own standard of living. The polls also revealed scepticism regarding the Czech government´s ability to effectively solve the country’s problems. Only 21 percent of those polled said they trust the government to prevent a Greek scenario unfolding in the Czech Republic.
FC Viktoria Plzeň tied in their first match of the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, finishing 1:1 against Belarusian BATE Borisov. Plzeň’s Marek Bakoš scored the first goal of the match at Prague’s Eden stadium towards the end of the first half; Brazilian Renan Bardini Bressan evened the score twenty minutes before the end of the game. In two weeks time Plzeň will face AC Milan, which also tied on Tuesday 2:2 against Barcelona.
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