The Czech Republic’s budget deficit last year was, at CZK 195 billion, over five times higher than the amount originally approved by the Chamber of Deputies. The caretaker Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, revealed the finance ministry’s provisional figure on a TV debate programme on Sunday. The government of his predecessor, Mirek Topolánek, had pushed through a deficit of CZK 38.1 billion; in November deputies voted to raise that figure to CZK 52.2 billion, in order to cover the funding of old age pensions. The budget for 2010 envisages a record deficit of around CZK 163 billion, though that could rise considerably, due to spending promises won by the left wing parties in the lower house and further expected amendments. Mr Fischer has said he will hold meetings to discuss the budget with individual leaders of the main political parties this month.
The Czech Republic’s chief hygiene officer says he expects a second wave of the swine flu pandemic to hit the country. In an interview for Právo, Michal Vít said the next wave of infection with the H1N1 virus could occur once pupils return to Czech schools after the Christmas break. However, it might not come until the start of March and could continue until May, he told the newspaper. Mr Vít said the swine flu pandemic might last for a year or even longer.
The Temelín nuclear power station in south Bohemia produced more electricity in 2009 than ever before. It generated 13,204 terawatt hours last year, which was three percent less than its operators had planned but still the most it has ever produced. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic’s other nuclear power plant at Dukovany in Moravia had its third best year ever in terms of amount of power generated, officials said.
A woman of 20 died on Saturday when the car she was driving collided with a truck gritting the road from Ostrava to Havířov. Her car crashed into the truck while the latter was turning, a spokesperson for the rescue services in the Moravia-Silesia Region told reporters. The woman was killed on the spot, while three male passengers in the car were taken to hospital with various injuries. A representative of the company which operates the gritting service said the truck’s driver had not been to blame for the collision.
A 23-year-old man was found dead on a railway line between Frenštát pod Radhoštěm and Veřovice in Moravia on Sunday. His body was spotted by the driver of a train and it is believed he was hit by another train that had previously travelled that same stretch of track. A spokesperson for the local police a pillow and blanket had been found by the man’s body, adding that he may have been walking along the track. An investigation has been launched into the matter.
Police in Prague have launched a murder investigation after a 43-year-old patient at a psychiatric unit in the city was evidently killed by another patient in the early hours of Saturday. The alleged killer had been taken to the Klarov teaching hospital by police after becoming aggressive and threatening members of his own family, the website of TV Nova reported. Another news website reported that he kicked the victim of the attack to death. The man, who is 36, is being held at a medical facility in Prague 8 and is currently not in a condition to answer questions, the police said.
The Czech driver Aleš Loprais finished second in the truck category in the first stage of the Dakar Rally on Saturday. Loprais’s Tatra finished only 27 seconds behind a Kamaz driven by Russia’s Vladimir Chagin in the Colon to Cordoba stage. Another Czech driver, Tomáš Tomeček, failed to complete the first leg after his Tatra crashed, forcing him to pull out of the famous race completely.
Patrik Eliáš notched up three assists as his club New Jersey Devils beat Minnesota Wild 5:3 in an NHL game on Saturday. Eliáš, who will captain the Czech ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics next month, was voted second most valuable player after Jamie Langenbrunner, who scored a hat-trick for New Jersey.
Wintry conditions have hit the whole of the Czech Republic, with freezing temperatures, snow and ice seen even in low-lying areas of the country. In Prague and central Bohemia several centimetres of snow have fallen. While the majority of Czech roads are clear, motorists have been advised to drive carefully.
Police in Prague have launched a murder investigation after a 43-year-old patient at a psychiatric unit in the city was evidently killed by another patient in the early hours of Saturday. The alleged killer had been taken to the Klarov teaching hospital by police after becoming aggressive and threatening members of his own family, the website of TV Nova reported. The man, who is 36, is being held at a medical facility in Prague 8 and is currently not in a condition to answer questions, the police said.