Transport unions could organise a series of strikes if tax changes reducing employee benefits are not modified by Parliament. The warning was issued by the head of the Czech Transport Workers’ Union Luboš Pomajbík on Sunday. Speaking on Czech TV, the union leader said he had the full support of other union members. The caretaker government late last week scrambled to try and avert a strike originally planned for Monday that threatened to see public transport grind to a halt; that strike has now been postponed until Thursday, leaving Parliament time to act. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats have come out strongly against the unions: Civic Democrat deputy leader Petr Bendl expressed confidence on Sunday that his party would not support any changes to the tax legislation in either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, where centre-right parties hold the majority.
Belgian troops taking part in military training near Karlovy Vary on Saturday crashed an armoured personnel carrier. Four soldiers were taken to hospital with cuts and bruises. A breathalyser test ruled out alcohol as a factor in the crash; all four were released by Saturday afternoon. The Czech news agency, ČTK, reported that the Belgian military has leased the roughly 33,000 hectares of grounds owned by the Czech Army for extensive training by a brigade of 1,800 soldiers over 14 days. The Czech Defence Ministry said it is one of the largest training operations on Czech soil over the last five years.
Respected Czech-American economist Jan Švejnar, who ran unsuccessfully against Václav Klaus for the post of president in 2008, has dismissed media reports suggesting he could run as a regional election leader for the Social Democratic Party in the upcoming national election. His aide Daniel Herman released the information on Saturday in reaction to an article in the Czech daily Právo, which cited two unnamed sources within the Social Democratic Party, who suggested Mr Švejnar might get on board. The Social Democrats have also dismissed the article as speculation. Mr Švejnar was supported by both the Social Democratic Party and the Greens in his 2008 presidential bid, but is not a member of either political party.
The month of February has seen the fewest number of deaths in traffic accidents on Czech roads in 20 years, police statistics have shown. 24 people died in accidents in February compared to 52 over the same month last year. Police attribute the drop in fatalities to fewer people heading onto the road in February due to often difficult snowy conditions. The Transport Ministry, meanwhile, is taking a pro-active approach in trying to lower the number of fatalities on Czech roads, planning to release its hard-hitting television campaign Nemyslíš – zaplatíš (Don’t think? You’ll pay the price) on Facebook.
Melting snows across the country have now raised water levels on rivers in 18 areas leading meteorologists to issue low-level flood warnings. A 2nd degree warning (a mid-level alert) is in place on the Radbuza in western Bohemia. 1st degree alerts are also in place in other parts of the country, including the Labe (Elbe) River in northern Bohemia. This winter saw snowfall within norms, specialists have said, but a higher concentration in cities like the Czech capital, where snow only began disappearing with the coming of milder conditions in recent days.
Noted Czech jazz guitarist David Dorůžka has recorded a new album which will go into distribution in the Czech Republic in March, the artist has told the Czech news agency. Dorůžka recorded the album, called Wandering Song, with Spanish pianist and organist Albert Sanz, together with renowned drummer Jorge Rossy. David Dorůžka, who is 30, received critical acclaim in the Czech Republic for his previous album Silent Dawning two years ago, for which he was awarded Best Jazz Recording at the Anděl (Angel) awards.
Czech cross-country skier Lukáš Bauer, who has won two bronze medals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, will race in the Men’s 50 kilometre, Mass Start Classic later on Sunday. It is a last chance for a final medal for the Czech Republic, which has a tally of six so far. Bauer himself expressed confidence ahead of the race, saying that he considered himself a favourite. But he added that much would depend on the course itself as well as weather conditions and said anyone could surprise. The Czech Republic has three other racers who will also be taking part: Milan Šperl, Jiří Magál and Martin Jakš.
Czech alpine skier Ondřej Bank was unable to hold on to a promising sixth place in the men’s slalom at Vancouver on Saturday, slipping to a final 11th spot after his second run. All the same, the skier indicated he is satisfied with his performance at this year’s Winter Olympics, which included an earlier 7th place finish in the Super-Combined Downhill. He did say, however, that he hoped to do better in the future. Saturday’s men’s slalom was won by Italian skier Giuliano Razzoli, followed by Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, and Sweden’s Andre Myhrer.
The second half of the 2009/2010 football season got underway in the
Gambrinus Liga on Saturday, seeing the following matches: Brno against
Liberec, Sparta Prague against Příbram and Slavia Prague against
Bohemians Prague. Brno edged Liberec 1:0, Sparta and Pribram tied 1:1, and
Slavia defeated Bohemians Prague 1:0 in their derby.
Matches on Sunday included České Budějovice against Teplice which ended in a 0:0 draw, and Bohemians 1905 against Jablonec, which Jablonec won 3:0.
Meteorologists have warned of strong winds in parts of the Czech Republic on Sunday, including areas in northern Moravia and Silesia. Sunday evening strong winds are also expected to hit the Czech capital and parts of Central and northern Bohemia. Experts said that the gales were not likely to be dangerous, ranging between 55 and 90 kilometres per hour. The winds are expected to continue in other areas on Monday, including around Pardubice and Olomouc, as well as in northern Moravia. In the mountains, winds are expected to hit 125 kilometres per hour.