The Czech government has approved a treaty on co-operating with the United States in the field of military research. If both sides ratify the deal, it will allow Czech scientists to take part in US-funded projects alongside colleagues from America and around a dozen other countries. Speaking after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Czech minister of defence, Martin Barták, said he expected to sign the treaty in the next few weeks. Talks on the research deal began last year, when Washington was still planning to build a radar base in central Bohemia as part of an anti-missile defence system. Mr Barták denied it represented compensation for the US dropping the Czech Republic from its missile defence plans.
Ryanair is to discontinue flights to and from Prague later this year. A spokesperson for Europe’s biggest budget airline said it was pulling out of the city’s Ruzyně airport because its charges were too high. Routes to Birmingham and Hahn near Frankfurt will come to an end in July, while routes to Dublin and Stockholm will cease in October. Ryanair had put forward a proposal to increase its number of destinations from Prague to 33, if the airport reduced its charges considerably. The airport’s management refused, saying the same conditions applied to all airlines.
The Czech minister of finance, Eduard Janota, says more cuts will be needed if the government is to meet its aim of keeping the budget deficit no higher than 5.3 percent of GDP. Mr Janota said on Tuesday that he would present his cabinet colleagues with proposals on how to save on expenditures, though he refused to reveal any concrete suggestions to journalists. The deficit for 2010 is CZK 163 billion (over USD 8.4 billion), though the left wing parties in the Chamber of Deputies pushed through a number of measures which make that target impossible to reach.
The Czech state has spent over CZK 500 million (USD 26 million) on plans for new school leaving exams which are unlikely to come to fruition, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The Ministry of Education launched the project, under which ‘maturita’ exams organised by individual schools would be replaced by a centralised system. However, the ministry cannot explain how all of the money has been spent, Mladá fronta said. The newspaper added that there was an increasing chance plans for a new exam system would be either put on ice or abandoned completely after May’s general elections.
The Social Democrats are questioning the selection of first deputy chair
Miroslava Němcová to chair the lower house of the Czech Parliament for
the one month that remains of its term. The Civic Democrat politician was
expected to take the post for that short period, after the Social Democrats
said last week that Miloslav Vlček was planning to step down on April 30.
However, Právo reported on Tuesday that the Social Democrats are now
saying that under a deal made in 2006 they should hold on to the position.
The party would like to install Lubomír Zaoralek as speaker, though he
said on Tuesday that he was not interested in the post. For her part,
Miroslava Němcová says Mr Vlček has already charged her with taking
The Social Democrats announced on Thursday that Miloslav Vlček was quitting as chair and withdrawing from next month’s general elections, after his name was linked to alleged financial impropriety.
The number of people charged with extremist activities in the Czech Republic was 50 percent higher 2009 than in the previous year, according to a report Interior Minister Martin Pecina presented to the government on Monday. However, the number of recorded extremist crimes fell by about a fifth last year in comparison with 2008. Some 256 extremist crimes were recorded in 2009, representing 0.07 percent of all crimes dealt with by the Czech police. Most of those charged were aged between 21 and 39. The report found that more secondary school and third level graduates had faced charges, though it said the increase could not be regarded as a trend.
A woman who took part in an armed ambush on prison officers and freed her husband is unlikely to go to jail. Právo reported that a judge in Plzeň had decided to punish Dagmar Tauchenová in the form of an injunction, which carries a maximum sanction of a one-year suspended sentence. Judge Josef Prach refused to comment on the decision, which has not yet been handed to the state attorney or the accused’s defence lawyer. In November last year Mrs Tauchenová held up prison guards at a hospital in Plzeň, forcing them to release her husband Pavel Tauchen. When police tracked them down a month later Mr Tauchen shot himself dead, while his wife was injured by a police bullet, necessitating a difficult operation.
The Czech minister of culture, Vaclav Riedlbauch, has presented the Australian classical music conductor Sir Charles Mackerras with an award for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic in the cultural sphere. The minister said he was giving Sir Charles the Artis Bohemiae Amicis prize in gratitude for all he had done for Czech music over the decades. Since studying in Prague in the late 1940s, the conductor has championed the music of Leoš Janáček; he has described his work with the Czech composer as his single most important legacy to music.
Baník Ostrava have drawn level on points with Sparta Prague at the top of the Czech soccer league with only four rounds remaining this season. Baník beat Bohemians 1905 in the capital on Monday evening to reach 54 points, the same number as Sparta who have a superior goal difference of four. The two clubs, whose fans are bitter rivals, will go head to head in Ostrava next Sunday in a game that could decide who wins the Czech title.
Alois Hadamczik has been selected as the new Czech ice hockey manager. Hadamczik, who recently helmed Pardubice to the Czech Extraliga title, will take over from Vladimír Růžička immediately after the World Championship in Germany next month. He will sign a two-year contract and return to a post he previously held for three years; Hadamczik led the Czechs to a silver medal at the 2006 World Championship and bronze at the Winter Olympics the same year.