The Czech government has approved an amendment to the law regulating economic competition. Proposed by the lower house of the Czech Parliament, the amendment's main aim is to prevent the abuse of a dominant position on the market. It protects the rights of weaker parties in business relationships between construction firms or supermarket chains and their suppliers, for example.
Around one hundred Romany women will be meeting in Prague next month to discuss the ways in which they can actively improve the living standards of themselves and their families. The conference is organised by the grouping "Manushe", which has been promoting the need for an education, independence, and self-confidence among Roma women.
Former Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik is planning a comeback in Czech
politics. The current president of the state-run airline Czech Airlines
(CSA) intends to give up his post to help the senior party in the
ruling coalition, the Social Democratic Party, prepare for the general
elections in mid-June. Mr Tvrdik says his comeback will be short, as he
does not plan to stay in politics after his job as election manager is
The head of the Administration Division of the country's biggest power utility CEZ, Radomir Lasak, is expected to replace Mr Tvrdik as CSA president on January 18. His main task will be to prepare the airliner for privatisation.
The government has decided to record data on the Roma community, using a new monitoring system. The information collected is to be in the fields of employment, qualifications, salaries, accommodation, credit history, and education. Following Wednesday's government session, Justice Minister Pavel Nemec said the system, which would only collect anonymous data, is to aid the state in finding more effective ways of improving the living standards of Romanies.
World Cup leader Jakub Janda was beaten by Norway's Lars Bystoel, who won the third stage of the Four Hills ski jumping tournament at Innsbruck on Wednesday. But Janda was able to take the overall lead of the tournament away from Finland's Janne Ahonen after winning the opening event in Oberstdorf and coming second at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The deficit in public finances for 2005 is lower than originally expected. The Czech Finance Ministry reports a deficit of 56.4 billion crowns, which is 27.2 billion crowns less than the projected figure approved by parliament. Tax revenues last year reached a record 459 billion crowns, that's some 53 billion crowns more than in the previous year. Finance minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he expected the positive trend to continue.
Heavy snowfall has slowed down traffic in south Bohemia and there have been power cuts in many parts of the region. Many roads are impassable and have had to be closed down. Fallen trees are also complicating rail transport and although trains are still running there are long delays. Maintenance crews are out in force to try and get the situation under control.
Central European EU states have called for diversification of gas supplies away from Russia after Moscow's decision to halt deliveries to Ukraine affected other countries in central and eastern Europe. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria are to discuss energy security on Tuesday, with diversification seen high on the agenda. The Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes wrote in its Tuesday edition that following the disruption of supplies to this part of Europe, Russia's declaration that it is a reliable energy source best suited to meet growing EU demand can no longer be taken at face value.
Jiri Havel has been appointed deputy prime minister for the economy. He replaces Martin Jahn, who announced his decision to leave politics for the private sector two months ago. Jiri Havel, formerly head of the National Property Fund, was handpicked for the post by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. The Prime Minister described Mr. Havel as an experienced professional whose views of the world were very close to his own. Jiri Havel is a member of the ruling Social Democratic party.