A wave of departure of professionals from the police force has begun to be
offset by the arrival of new employees. Interior Minister Ivan Langer said
on Thursday more people joined the force than left it in the months of
and August. At a press conference assessing the activities of police upper
management on Thursday, the minister said the trend had changed. Mr Langer
also stressed that the wages of 94 percent of police personnel had grown
the first half of 2007 compared to the same period last year.
Mr Langer's deputy stated that was partly the result of the new law on service. The new service law - valid since January - originally triggered the wave of departures from the police force due to the changes in service rules for police officers, prison guards, customs officers as well as members of the fire brigade. The legislation applies to about 72,000 people, including 47,000 members of the police force.
A new poll released by the Median agency - published on two internet
servers - has suggested the ruling Civic Democrats have improved over
nearest rivals. According to the poll, if elections were held today they
would be won by the right-of-centre party earning 35.2 percent of the
The party strengthened over rivals the Social Democrats, who slipped by
percentage points since July. In their current coalition with the
Democrats and the Greens, the Civic Democrats would now gain a majority of
seats in the lower house. The poll suggests the opposition Communists
place third with 12.6 percent of the vote, followed by the Greens with 6.6
percent, and the Christian Democrats last, with 6.1 percent.
The survey also monitored voters' willingness to go to the polls: turnout would be 60 percent, or 5 percentage points less than the real figure during the national election last June.
The Czech deputy prime minister for EU affairs, Alexandr Vondra, has
indicated that the EU reform treaty set to replace the rejected EU
constitution contains a number of "blank" areas; he discussed
issue after a meeting with President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Mirek
Topolanek, and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Thursday.
Ratification of the EU reform treaty was not discussed per se, but all
representatives agreed to hold regular meetings in order to coordinate
further political steps. Mr Vondra said the prevailing opinion was to have
the EU reform treaty ratified in parliament as opposed to a referendum.
On Thursday, President Klaus also discussed a planned speech at the forthcoming U.N. General Assembly in New York. Mr Vondra told journalists he expected the president will use his visit to promote the Czech Republic's candidacy for a non-permanent member seat in the U.N. Security Council in 2008-2009.
Czech footballer Pavel Horvath, who plays for Sparta Prague, will have to pay a fine of 200,000 crowns (the equivalent of almost 10,000 US dollars) for a gesture in a recent match reminiscent of the Nazi salute. The gesture was made towards fans. A disciplinary commission of the Football Association of the Czech Republic reached the decision on Thursday that the salute had damaged the reputation of Czech football. The player has admitted the gesture was a mistake but denied it was meant as a racist act.
The State Veterinary Administration has revealed that this Friday it will relax a number of restrictions in place since outbreaks of the H5N1 bird flu at poultry and turkey farms in east Bohemia in June. As of Friday, breeders' organisations will once again be allowed to host bird exhibitions. But breeders will still be required to uphold strict hygiene standards as well as to provide authorities with warnings of any potential signs of bird flu. Indicators include a drop in egg production or in the consumption of water and feed. The spokesman for the State Veterinary Administration said that new cases of bird flu in the Czech Republic could not be ruled out.
A Korean appeals court has ruled that the chairman of carmaker Hyundai, who was convicted of embezzling company funds, will not go to prison. Chung Mong-Koo's original sentence of three years in jail was suspended. Mr Chung had continued to run the Korean automaker after release on bail; investors had worried any absence could hurt the company's expansion plans in Korea and abroad. The Hyundai Motor Group chairman's legal troubles made headlines in the Czech Republic due to the construction of a new Hyundai factory in northern Moravia. The project, representing a 1.1 billion euro investment, began earlier this year. Once fully-operational, the plant is expected to manufacture 300,000 cars annually and to employ around 3,500 workers.
The Czech Social Security Administration (CSSZ) has registered 510 people aged 100 and over: 428 women and 82 men, the office's spokeswoman has said. The oldest person in the Czech Republic is Marie Kraslova, South Bohemia: she celebrated her 108th birthday last November. The oldest man is 105 years of age. The number of people over 100 has grown in the Czech Republic: last November there were 404 people, compared to 354 in November 2005. Most of those aged over 100 live in Prague, followed by South Moravia.
Areas of north Moravia and Silesia are under extreme threat of floods. The levels of rivers in the area, as well as parts of northern Bohemia, have risen considerably due to extensive rain - and surrounding areas are on highest alert. In some areas, 20-year old water has already broken banks, leading to flooding in parts of some village homes: namely cellars and basements. Some roads have been closed off. Meteorologists have said that a warning of heavy rain and strong winds will remain in effect until Friday. On Wednesday night, fire fighters had to intervene in many regions, mostly east Bohemia and north Moravia, removing fallen trees from roads and high voltage electric lines. Technicians were called in to repair lines in 230 places in east Bohemia alone. Extensive rain on Wednesday also raised water levels in some rivers in southern Bohemia.
The Liberec region has recorded a sharp rise in the rate of HIV, hepatitis
B and syphilis infections. Five new cases of HIV were recorded in the
region in the first six months of 2007, two more than were recorded in the
first six months of the previous two years.
In the same period, there were also 13 new cases of hepatitis B, more than double the amount for the whole of 2006, and 29 new cases of syphilis (as opposed to 18 cases over the previous twelve months). Experts have blamed the increases in infections in the region on unsafe sexual practices, particularly the lack of condom use. They also warn that the real rate of infections could be up to ten times higher than the official figures.
The Czech government has decided to set up a special commission for the
development of the Brdy area, the site of a controversial proposed US radar
base. The government announced its decision on Wednesday after meeting with
the mayors of municipalities in the central Bohemian region. It said
hundreds of millions of crowns would be invested in the area regardless of
whether the American radar base was eventually built there. Most of the 15
mayors who attended the meeting said they welcomed the prospect of
investment into the economically neglected region, but insisted that this
would not change their opposition to the proposed radar.
The United States wants to construct a radar facility in Brdy as part of a missile defence system aimed at countering possible attacks from so-called rogue states such as Iran. Polls show that a majority of Czechs are against the proposal even though it has the tentative support of the centre-right government. A final decision on the base is expected early next year.