The news site Tyden.cz reports that only person charged in the spate of egg-throwing attacks on Social Democrats prior to elections to the European Parliament last spring will be tried in court. Charges were originally brought against four individuals, aged 16 to 22, for public disorder, attacking a public figure and bodily restraint. Three of those cases however were re-qualified as misdemeanours. The “egg protests” were a feature of Social Democrat rallies around May of this year and came to a head at a rally in Prague city centre when politicians were pelted with hundreds of eggs and other objects; police at that event detained 16 people and the attacks were roundly condemned.
A record 45,000 people attended a tank show near the Bohemian town of Benešov. The 7th annual “Tank Day” was organised by the Military Technical Museum of Lešany and displayed and paraded dozens of armoured vehicles, including new vehicles that are to start service in the Czech Armed Forced this autumn. Highlights of the event included a commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising and the simulated rescue of a pilot shot down over Afghanistan.
One in ten Czech drivers has received at least one penalty point for a traffic offence, the Ministry of Transport has reported. The largest concentration of penalised drivers is in Prague, with 82,000 drivers, and the largest group of drivers with points are those with two. The penalty points system has been in place in the Czech Republic since 2006. The maximum number of penalty points is 12, at which point the driver’s licence is revoked for one year.
Civic Democratic chairman Mirek Topolánek has said he is in favour of dissolving the Ministry of Regional Development. Speaking at a press conference regarding historical monuments, Mr Topolánek criticised the fact that monuments are controlled by the Ministry of Culture while the closely related aspect of tourism is managed by the Regional Development Ministry, and added that if tourism were to be managed by the Ministry of Culture as well, an agency rather than a ministry would suffice to cover what few responsibilities would be left to the Regional Development Ministry. The former prime minister also said that the only reason no such change had been made under his government was that the Christian Democratic Party was in charge of both ministries.
Medical experts have said they believe the amount of swine flue vaccine purchased by the state is insufficient. Last week the Czech government ordered one million doses of the vaccine, or one-fifth of the number originally planned, at a cost of 220 million crowns. The amount covers 5% of the population, ensuring vaccination for those responsible for critical state infrastructure, including health care workers and those providing energy, water and food supplies.
Czech President Václav Klaus has recommended citizens stock up on classic 100 watt light bulbs ahead of an EU regulation banning their sale. Speaking at the launch of his latest book, a critique of the environmental movement called “Blue Planet Under Threat”, Mr Klaus said that if he were a normal citizen and shopper he would buy a lifetime supply of “good, old Edison bulbs” to avoid joining the modern bandwagon. Beginning September 1, manufacturers will no longer be able to supply light bulbs of 100 Watts or higher, which are to be gradually replaced with more energy-efficient bulbs. Ecologists, including several from Mr Klaus’s former party, the Civic Democrats, have called the remarks “absurd”, and opined that the president is simply against any regulation that comes from Brussels.
A survey conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre suggests that Czechs’ confidence in state political offices is declining. According to the survey the greatest loss of confidence was in the office of president, which dropped by seven percent over the summer months. Still, at 59%, President Klaus enjoys far greater confidence than members of parliament, whom only 22% say they trust, a fall of 3%, or senators, who fare only 1% better. 43% of people said they have faith in their local regional representatives. Only one-tenth of the 1165 respondents said they were content with the current political situation in the Czech Republic.
The 2009 harvest in the Czech Republic is expected to be about 10% lower than the previous year, the minister of agriculture, Jakub Šebesta, announced Saturday. With the cereals and corn harvest almost in, the ministry expects a total volume of 7.4 million tonnes, with 5.3 sufficient to cover domestic demand.
A Czech Airlines plane made a diverted landing in Prague Friday after the pilot reported non-standard responses from the flight instruments. The nearly 200 passengers on board the flight from the Greek island of Corfu were transported Saturday morning to their original destination of Brno by bus. Czech Airlines stated the flight was diverted to Prague because the company lacks the appropriate repair facilities in Brno.
Around a hundred soldiers from the Texas National Guard will be arriving in the Czech Republic in September with six F-16 fighter jets for a ten-day training exercise with Czech pilots. In addition to training, the Ministry of Defence said the Squadron Exchange exercise at the Čáslav military base is intended to allow Czech pilots returning from the first foreign mission of the Czech Air Force Fighter Squadron to exchange information with their American counterparts. A similar exercise was held with Belgian pilots in 2007.