The Czech Culture Ministry has approved the construction of high rise buildings in the Pankrac district of Prague, saying that they would not interfere with the city's cultural heritage. Pankrac lies within the city's protected cultural heritage reserve entered on the UNESCO world heritage list and the World Heritage Committee has expressed serious concern about the planned construction project. The real estate developer ECM has welcomed the ministry's decision and plans to present the construction project at a press conference in Prague on Thursday.
Prague has made an official bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. A letter stating Prague's interest in hosting the Olympics was signed by Prague mayor Pavel Bem and the head of the Czech Olympic Committee Milan Jirasek in Prague on Tuesday. The signing ceremony was attended by the country's leading sportsmen and women, among them Olympic gold winners Dana Zatopkova, Stepanka Hilgertova and Roman Sebrle. "This is a great day for Prague and a tremendous challenge for us all" the mayor said. However not everyone approves of the bid. The Green Party argues that at the present time hosting the Olympics is a luxury that Prague simply cannot afford.
The Czech Republic had a trade deficit of 700 million crowns (34.5 million dollars) in July, registering a negative figure for the first time this year, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Tuesday. Traditional strong export earnings from cars and other transport equipment failed to outweigh higher imports of other manufactured goods, the office said.
The Supreme Court has upheld a ruling by the City Court in that the Prague City Hall was wrong to ban a planned protest march against the US radar base in January of this year. The protest march was called by the No to Bases civic initiative but failed to take place after the City Hall banned it for fear of traffic complications. The head of the initiative Jan Majicek took the matter to court saying that the City Hall, dominated by Civic Democrats, had made a political decision. Both the City Court and now the Supreme Court ruled in his favour.
The police have charged a doctor with negligence resulting in death after she failed to treat a homeless man in an Olomouc hospital. The man came into the emergency ward complaining of stomach and chest pains and was briefly examined by the doctor and sent away on the grounds that it was nothing serious. The man died outside the hospital gates a few hours later. An autopsy revealed that he had died of double pneumonia and medical experts reviewing the case say he should have been hospitalized right away.
The police have charged two men with illegal storage of hazardous waste in connection with a discovery of radioactive waste in an abandoned warehouse in Chvaletice, east of Prague. Environment inspectors and the police found fifty six tons of dangerous chemicals on the premises last year. Most of them have now been removed and inspectors are ascertaining the extent of damage to the environment.
The government has hired a PR agency to run its information campaign on the possible deployment of a US radar on Czech territory. AMI Communication, which was selected from five bidders, will cooperate closely with the government's spokesman on missile defense Tomas Klvana. The government will pay 1.7 million crowns for the campaign which is to be launched later this month. Opinion polls suggest that the majority of Czechs are opposed to the US radar base and the government has been criticized for its handling of the issue. A final decision on whether the Czech Republic will host the radar is to be made by Parliament early next year.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has dismissed speculation that he is planning a cabinet reshuffle. Czech newspapers reported last week that Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova (Christian Democrats), as well as Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil (Civic Democrats) might be replaced by MP Jan Vidim (Civic Democrats) and Minister Cyril Svoboda (Christian Democrats), respectively. Mr Topolanek said on Monday that both ministers had been doing very well and that he was satisfied with their performance.