The Czech government is set to decide on Monday whether to accept the only bid it has received for the national carrier Czech Airlines. Finance Minister Eduard Janota has not said whether he will recommend that the cabinet agree to the offer from the Czech-Icelandic consortium of Unimex and Travel Service. It is the sole bidder, after Air France-KLM dropped out. However, there has been speculation that the bid will be rejected and the troubled company will remain in state hands. The government last week installed the head of Prague Airport, Miroslav Dvořák, as Czech Airlines’ CEO. He has secured an agreement with unions to cut salaries at the airline, which has seen record losses this year.
Czech police have had to stop using hundreds of cells at stations around the country because they do not meet international guidelines, Czech Television reported. The president of the Czech Republic’s police force, Oldřich Martinů, said that the police had to guarantee respect for the dignity of those they apprehend. However, some rank and file officers have criticised the cell closures, saying it could be dangerous not to have offenders behind bars at police stations. Mr Martinů said improvements on sub-standard cells would gradually be carried out, explaining the police did not have resources to modernise all the inadequate cells immediately.
A woman who left her seven-month-old son in a babybox in the Prague district of Hloubětín on Wednesday has come forward saying she wants the child back, the website of TV Nova reported. The founder of the Czech Republic’s network of babyboxs, Ludvík Hess, said the mother had had problems with money and accommodation when she decided to abandon her son. A court will decide next week whether to return the child, the website said. Since the system was launched in 2005, 26 infants have been left anonymously in babyboxes, 13 of them in Hloubětín.
Aneta Vignerová, a 21-year-old model from Havířov, has been named Miss Czech Republic 2009. Heading the panel of judges at Saturday night’s ceremony in Prague was Taťána Kuchařová, a former Miss Czech Republic who went on to become Miss World in 2006. This year’s Miss Czech Republic was broadcast live on Czech Television, the first time in 15 years that the public service broadcaster screened the event.
Four fifths of Czechs would like to see the country’s Temelín and Dukovany nuclear power stations completed, suggests a poll carried out this week by the internet-based polling agency SANEP. Finishing construction of both nuclear plants is part of a draft long-term energy plan put forward by the government recently. Two thirds of respondents said they would welcome more nuclear power stations in the Czech Republic. Temelín and Dukovany currently produce around one third of the country’s power.
The Prague rock band Psí Vojáci celebrated the 30th anniversary of their foundation with a concert at the city’s Akropolis on Saturday night. The group were founded by singer, pianist and songwriter Filip Topol when he was just 13 years old. They had trouble with the authorities and were only able to appear at illegal underground events in the early 1980s, but later became a big draw on the Czech rock circuit following the fall of communism.
In all Czech final, Iveta Benešová and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová beat Vladimíra Uhlířová and Renata Voráčová 1-6 6-0 10-7 on Sunday to take the doubles title at the Luxembourg Open. It was the fifth doubles trophy of Benešová’s career; earlier this year she and Záhlavová-Strýcová won in Stockholm. The pair also reached finals in Monterrey and Prague.
The caretaker prime minister, Jan Fischer, says if the two biggest parties
do not agree on a new Czech European Commissioner within two weeks, his
government will choose one. Speaking in an interview in Saturday’s
Lidové noviny, Mr Fischer said he would prefer it if the Social Democrats
and the Civic Democrats could reach a deal on a candidate. However, that
appears unlikely: the former are backing current social affairs
commissioner Vladimír Špidla, while the latter support Alexandr Vondra.
Prime Minister Fischer has indicated that if there is no alternative, he
will put forward somebody whose approval by the European Parliament might
be relatively smooth; that could favour Vladimír Špidla, Lidové noviny
The make-up of the next European Commission was to be discussed at an EU summit in Brussels next week. However, that meeting is likely to be dominated by efforts to have the Lisbon treaty approved by the Czech Republic and the new Commission will be on the agenda at a later date.
The remains of an unknown Czech soldier who died at the Battle of Zborov in 1917 have been returned to Prague. Speaking at the city’s airport when a Czech army plane carrying the remains landed, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said the foundations of the Czechoslovak state had been laid by the legions who fought in World War I. Defence Minister Martin Barták said the Battle of Zborov had been a great success thanks to the courage and military expertise of the Czech legionnaires, despite the fact they were facing forces that were better armed and equipped. On May 8, the anniversary of VE day, the remains will be interred in a restored tomb of the unknown solider at Prague’s Vítkov national memorial, alongside the remains of a soldier who fell at the Battle of the Dukla Pass in 1944. The Vítkov national memorial is being reopened on Sunday after extensive renovations.
Czech President Václav Klaus is planning to bring out a new book in the middle of next month, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. Kde začíná zítřek (When Tomorrow Starts) is expected to offer an appraisal of political and economic developments in this country since the Velvet Revolution. Mr Klaus has published dozens of books, including two questioning the theory that mankind is responsible for global warming. Mladá fronta Dnes wrote that his latest volume was likely to meet a stormy reception, as the president’s interpretation of events in the Czech Republic could differ strongly from those of other participants.