Writer Milan Kundera has issued a statement, saying he was not given the chance to react to allegations he informed on someone nearly six decades ago, before the story was published by the Czech magazine Respekt. On Monday Respekt quoted a 1950 police record which says Mr Kundera reported the presence in Prague of a Czech-born foreign agent, leading to the man being sentenced to a long term in the uranium mines. For its part, the magazine says the world renowned author declined the opportunity to give his side of the story. Milan Kundera, who now lives in France, has described the allegations as lies. Meanwhile, literary historian Zdeněk Pešat has issued a statement saying Miroslav Dlask, a friend of the writer’s in his student days, admitted before his death that it was he who informed on the agent.
As volatility continued on world markets, prices on the Prague Stock Exchange fell by 6.04 percent on Thursday. Investors were eager to offload shares in the energy and financial sectors, with the biggest individual fall involving the mining company NWR, which saw over 15 percent of its value wiped out. On Wednesday the Prague bourse’s PX Index closed almost 8 percent down on the previous day.
Some analysts have revised downwards their expectations for growth in the Czech economy in 2009. The Czech News Agency reported that Patria Finance had lowered its GDP growth projection from 3.1 to 2.5 percent, a view shared by analysts from Erste Bank. Patria’s David Marek said the reasons for the revision were worsening conditions in the eurozone and the negative impact of the Czech crown’s fast growth, in view of the fact the Czech Republic exports so much to countries which have adopted the common European currency.
The only working uranium mine in central Europe, at Rožná na Žďársku in Moravia, could continue operating for three years longer than originally expected. Last year the Czech government said the mine could remain open as long as it was economically viable, with 2012 the expected shut-down date. Now, however, new research suggests the mine could stay open until 2015, said a representative of the state company which runs it. The firm say they are hoping to find a Czech backer to support further digging, but could in the end proceed with the project by themselves. The Rožná na Žďársku mine has been producing uranium without interruption for over 50 years. It currently employs nearly 700 people.
The three-party coalition government faces a vote of no-confidence next Wednesday morning. The time and date have been set by the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies in response to a motion from the opposition Social Democrats. It will be the fourth such challenge to Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s government, which – with some members having quit its deputies group – may not control a majority in the lower house. A third of Senate seats and places in almost all the country’s regional authorities will be contested in elections that take place on Friday and Saturday.
Thieves posing as police officers stole a lorry full of cigarettes on
Thursday morning. The driver said he was stopped on the motorway near
Beroun in central Bohemia by two men in police reflective waistcoats
driving a car with police markings and a flashing light. They tied the
driver up and left him in the truck after transferring its cargo of
cigarettes, worth CZK 3,000,000, to another vehicle.
On Wednesday another two “false policemen” kidnapped and robbed a waitress in Frýdek-Místek, north Moravia. She managed to escape and alerted the real police, who arrested them.
There are now 37,000 kilometres of cycle paths in the Czech Republic, 20,000 more than six years ago, CzechTourism said on Thursday. That distance is similar to the figure for Germany, which is over four times bigger, said the state agency. However, the quality of the Czech Republic’s cycle paths is another matter, said a representative of the transport research authority, adding that there was also a lack of supplementary services for cyclists in this country.
The legend that egg were mixed into the mortar during the building of Prague’s 14th century Charles Bridge could well be true, suggests new research. A sample of the original mortar was removed for testing during on-going renovation work on the famous landmark and the results bore out the myth, with milk proteins being discovered in a test described as almost as precise as human fingerprints.
The Czech Republic beat Slovenia 1:0 at home on Wednesday in a qualifier for the 2010 football World Cup, with the only goal of the game coming from a Libor Sionko header midway through the second half. Despite their first win of the campaign, the Czech team were criticised for an unimpressive performance. They now have four points from three games, and will expect to take three more when they travel to San Marino for their last outing of the year in a month’s time.