Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to renew crude oil deliveries to the Czech Republic, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday. Russia had unexpectedly cut deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline earlier this month by nearly 50 percent. Moscow said the cut in supplies was caused by technical problems and denied that it was linked to the signing of a Czech-US treaty on the positioning of a US missile defense radar on Czech soil. The main Czech refiner Unipetrol started tapping state oil reserves and increased deliveries through the Ingolstadt pipeline to make up for the outage.
Croatia could be admitted to the European Union on the basis of the Nice treaty, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has said on Monday, rejecting the view of the current EU presidency that the union could only be enlarged after the ratification of the Lisbon treaty. Mr Topolánek said that the document approved in Nice in 2000 counted on inclusion of Bulgaria and Romania, adding that a formal extension of the treaty would also allow for the admission for Croatia.
A court in Darjeeling, India has refused to release on bail two Czech bug hunters who were arrested last month for collecting rare insects. Emil Kučera and Petr Švácha are believed to have collected several hundred specimens and each faces up to seven years in prison. The Indian press has suggested that the Czechs could belong to an international network of butterfly smugglers. The researchers defended their actions by saying they had no idea they had been within the boundaries of a national park. The Czech scientific community reacted to the case by circulating a petition in support of both suspects. It was signed by more than 500 people and presented to the Indian prime minister.
Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer is considering opening the way for people with health problems to work in the police force in an attempt to fill about 5000 vacancies, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. The police force lacks mainly computing and DNA experts, who frequently fail to pass the strict medical requirements. According to Minister Langer, this kind of work requires experts, not champions. He added that the criteria for posts requiring physical prowess will remain unchanged. The new regulations will take effect as of next year.
The five-year project designed to attract foreign specialists to work in the Czech Republic that was to be completed in July will continue, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Nečas has said. The project allows educated foreign specialists from 12 countries as well as foreign graduates of Czech secondary schools and universities to settle in the country with their family within a shortened legal deadline. They can obtain a permanent residence permit for two and a half years. Altogether 1,138 people mainly from the Eastern Europe have joined the programme so far and 226 have obtained permanent residence permits.
The Czech crown broke a new record on Monday morning, when it traded at a rate of 22.96 crowns per Euro. The crown later settled at around 23.00 crowns per Euro. The crown has strengthened by more than 11 percent since the beginning of the year, gaining almost 19 percent over the past 12 months. Czech exporters have warned that the continuing rise of the crown will undermine the economy's still solid growth.
One in ten adult Czechs is listed in the debt register, according to the latest survey by the Solus association, which administers the country's largest debt register of 22 banks and leasing providers, and three mobile operators. Solus reported 678,000 debtors in late June, which is a 41% increase since last year.
Environment Minister Martin Bursík said on Monday he agreed with the proposal to build a small dam on the river Opava in North Bohemia, which is designed to prevent the nearby towns of Krnov and Opava from floods. The project involves flooding about fifty houses in the nearby village of Nové Heřminovy, whose inhabitants will have to move out to make way for the dam. After meeting with the mayor of Nové Heřminovy on Monday, minister Bursík promised to provide funding for the municipality’s further development as well as compensations to the owners of the flooded buildings.
Tom Waits is set to play his first ever concert in Prague, within a tour called Glitter and Doom. The American singer will perform on Monday and Tuesday at Prague’s Congress Centre. Tickets for the two concerts were available only via the internet with the name of the buyer printed on the back side. Visitors will have to bring an ID or a passport to prove their identity. The tickets for both concerts are already sold out.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has said that he considers the
investigation into Deputy Prime Minister Jiří Čunek’s personal
finances closed. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Schwarzenberg
said the private audit performed at his request ruled out that Mr Čunek
had taken a bribe. At the same time, Mr Schwarzenberg wants to continue
with the audit, since it turned out to be incomplete. The investigators,
however, say that the contents of the missing 700 pages from the close to
5,000-page police report were highly unlikely to influence the overall
conclusion of the audit.
The report of the US investigation agency Kroll says that while there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Čunek had taken bribes, he received high rewards for lobbying, paid out per day which is not subject to taxation, and which would explain the striking difference between his official income and the large sums of money deposited on his various bank accounts.