President Václav Klaus signed into law on Sunday the 2010 state budget
bill with a record deficit of 163 billion crowns, or nearly 8.9 billion US
dollars. Mr Klaus, who had criticized the budget over the massive deficit,
singed the bill during a live talk show on the commercial TV station
The caretaker Czech government drafted the 2010 budget with a deficit amounting to 5.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. However, the lower house of the Czech Parliament made last-minute changes to the draft, increasing the deficit to 5.7 percent of GDP. Prime Minister Jan Fischer then warned that the European Commission was likely to launch proceedings against the Czech Republic as a result.
More than 6,000 people queued for hours in Kutná Hora, central Bohemia, on Sunday to see a rare 15th century miniature depicting the town’s silver mining industry in the Middle Ages. The region’s officials paid more than 600,000 pound sterling for the artefact in an auction at Sotheby’s in London earlier this month. On Sunday, the miniature went on a display for one day only before it is featured in a new gallery that is to open in Kutná Hora next May.
Most Czech companies expect a slight economic improvement in 2010, according to a survey by the news agency ČTK among Czech corporate associations released on Sunday. Most firms also believe that a recovery from the global economic downturn will last longer. The Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Association said that export-oriented firms should recover faster than companies focusing on consumer markets, as a further drop in retail demand is expected next year. However, 9 out of 10 companies expect to make profit in 2010. Most firms are not planning lay-offs for next year. The Czech Republic’s Confederation of Industry said the in 2010 and 11, Czech economy is likely to maintain the output registered in November and December this year, with the unemployment rate remaining at around 10 percent.
The town of Litvínov, northern Bohemia, has approved nine urban revitalization projects of socially excluded areas, a town’s spokesperson said on Sunday. The town earmarked over 54 million crowns for the projects submitted by the real estate owners in the troubled neighbourhood of Janov. The area, which is home to a larhe Romany community, saw last year the worst clashes between neo-Nazis and the police in the country’s history.
Czech men are more frequently affected by sexually transmitted diseased than women, according to figures by the Health Ministry released on Sunday. The incidence of syphilis has been 42 percent higher among men than women in the last five years, while the incidence of gonorrhoea 150 percent higher. In total, 1667 Czechs were infected in 2008 with either disease, which was 2.3 percent less than in the previous year.
Czech strikers Robert Lang and Martin Hanzal, of the Phoenix Coyotes, helped to match their team’s record of nine straight home wins after beating the Los Angeles Kings 3:2 on Saturday. Martin Hanzal scored one goal and Robert Lang registered one assist in the game. Both players were named the stars of the game.
The Czech Republic lost 10:1 to Sweden in the opening game of the U20 Hockey World Championship in Canada on Saturday. The Swedes, who are defending silver from the previous championship and are one of the tournament’s favourites, clearly outmatched the Czechs who conceded four goals in the first period alone. The Czech Republic is next playing Finland on Sunday, hoping to secure a chance of advancing from the championship’s preliminary stage.
Ten people have died of swine flu in the Czech Republic in the last week, bringing the total number of recorded deaths to 48. Over 1,200 people are now known to have contracted the H1N1 virus, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said on Wednesday. Nearly 40,000 people had been inoculated against swine flu by last Friday. Interest in vaccinations has been lower than anticipated, with some officials blaming the media for creating a false panic about the possible dangers of inoculation.
The number of pedestrians who are killed on Czech roads and streets is considerably higher than the European Union average, the news website novinky.cz reported, quoting a Europe-wide study. The EU average for pedestrian deaths is 14.6 per million inhabitants per year. In the Czech Republic, however, it is 22.8 per million. Experts blame the relatively high number of deaths on both inconsiderate drivers and reckless pedestrians. Preliminary police figures suggest this year’s death rate in the Czech Republic will show a decline, though it remains a serious problem, novinky.cz said.