The Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, has held talks in Israel with the country’s president, Shimon Peres. The two men praised relations between their states and agreed there was great room for co-operation in the fields of science and the economy. Mr Fischer, who started a three-day visit to Israel on Tuesday, also laid a wreath at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the country’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. The Czech leader is also due to meet his Israeli counterpart, Binyamin Netanyahu.
In a revised estimate, the ministry of finance says the Czech economy is
likely to contract by 4.3 percent this year, which would be the steepest
decline in GDP in the history of the Czech Republic. Three months ago the
ministry predicted a considerably milder contraction of 2.3 percent in
2009. The minister of finance, Eduard Janota, told the newspaper Mladá
fronta Dnes that the government would have to reevaluate next year’s
budget in the light of the new estimate.
The finance ministry also said the economy should grow next year by 0.3 percent, which again is a gloomier outlook than April’s prediction of 0.8 percent growth in 2010.
The Czech Republic has filed ratification papers at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, becoming the 110th state to recognise the permanent tribunal’s jurisdiction. The statue will enter into force on the first of January next year. The Czech Republic was the last member of the European Union to sign up to the International Criminal Court, which led to criticism from Brussels.
Exports of arms and military materials from the Czech Republic reached a record CZK 4.9 billion (USD 270 million) last year, a spokesperson for Czech trade ministry said on Wednesday. Over 30,000 revolvers and pistols manufactured in the Czech Republic were exported last year, along with a range of other guns and weapons. The Czech arms and security industry association said its members should enjoy similar turnover this year to 2008.
Václav Kasík has been dismissed as the director of the public broadcaster Czech Radio (of which Radio Prague is part). He was removed by an extraordinary meeting of the Czech Radio Council, who appointed head of programming Richard Medek as acting head of the station. The council said it had replaced Mr Kasík because renovations of Czech Radio’s historic building on Prague’s Vinohradská St had gone over budget and for hiring a person without the required security clearance to head the station’s “secretariat”. Václav Kasík had headed Czech Radio since July 1999.
Three people aged 18 and 19 died in the early hours of Wednesday when they were involved in a car crash as they reportedly attempted to evade a police control in the eastern town of Holešov. A fourth person, aged 28, was taken to hospital with serious injuries after the accident. He denies having been the driver, and police say it is as yet unclear which of the four was at the wheel. A spokesperson said the police could not confirm that they were pursuing the car when the crash occurred as it was still under investigation.
The first stand featuring an electronic display informing passengers of when the next tram is coming has appeared at a tram stop in Prague, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. A spokesperson for the capital’s transport authority told the newspaper there were plans to introduce 260 of such LCD displays in the city centre and districts including Žižkov, Holešovice and Smíchov by the end of this year.
The American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega and the Czech group Čechomor played a sold-out concert together in Loket on Tuesday night. Four and a half thousand people saw the joint show at an amphitheatre in the small west Bohemian town. The mini-tour continues with concerts in Prague and Žďár nad Sázavou. Suzanne Vega has appeared in concert in the Czech Republic several times.
Police arrested a former head of the Czech football association, Pavel Mokrý, on Tuesday on suspicion of tax evasion. Two others were also arrested: another former member of the Czech FA executive, Václav Chvála, and Ladislav Malý, who was a senior official at the ministry of education and sports. One of the three, not believed to be Mr Mokrý, has been formally charged. The news website novinky.cz reported that police were investigating the activities of Fotbal Trading, a daughter company of the Czech FA which is currently in liquidation. Pavel Mokrý was chairman of Czech soccer’s governing body for four years; he stepped down at the end of last month.