The Finance Ministry, the newspaper Lidové noviny reported, will soon send out the details of proposed austerity measures to government ministries and relevant institutions - cuts necessary to help tackle the deficit. Under the proposal, state expenses should be 28.2 billion less than previously expected by the end of the year; of that, savings of 10.2 billion crowns will come from individual ministries. According to the Czech daily, the Education Ministry will be among those that will have to save the most – more than three billion crowns in 2010; all 14 ministries will have to reduce their operational budgets by 2.5 percent. Institutions that will see cuts, meanwhile, include the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Constitutional Court, and the Office of the President. The cabinet will discuss the proposals next Wednesday.
Senators for the opposition Social Democratic Party have put forward Anna Šabatová for the post of ombudswoman, a candidate who could theoretically receive support from one of the parties in government, TOP 09 and possibly the Communists, sources have said. Until recently Mrs Šabatová served as the deputy head of the office when it was led by former lawyer Otakar Motejl, who died in May following a short bout with illness. An attempt by the new lower house of Parliament at the beginning of July to elect Mrs Šabatová or a fellow candidate to the post proved inconclusive after two rounds of voting, leading the process to now be repeated. The Social Democrats have expressed confidence Šabatová could get wider backing a second time around.
Security at the headquarters of the General Staff of the Czech Army in the district of Prague 6 will be boosted as of September, General Staff spokeswoman Mira Třebická has said. The move comes after the HQ was surprisingly broken into by thieves last week, who made off with several honorary military medals. The break-in prompted Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra to call for increased security by the military police; they had guarded the building until last year, when security was slashed by Mr Vondra’s predecessor as part of cost-cutting measures. Following the break-in security experts expressed concern over the ease with which perpetrators made their way inside, although sensitive information was reportedly not stolen. An investigation by the military police continues.
Specialists have revealed that the Czech Republic saw an increase of 98 new cases of HIV infection since the beginning of 2010 – compared to 75 the previous year. The information was released on Friday by the director of the House of Light in Prague, dedicated to helping AIDS sufferers. In all, 1,442 people have contracted the HIV virus in the Czech Republic. Of those, 1,160 are men. According to statistics, the highest number of people with HIV in the country live in Prague (578), followed by the regions of Central Bohemia and Pardubice. More than half of the cases are people who are reportedly contracted the disease through homosexual or bisexual activity, 30 percent heterosexual sex, and the rest through drug abuse - using dirty needles. One percent, ČTK said, contracted HIV through blood transfusions.
Czech car production rose by 18 percent in the first half of 2010 confirming a recovery in the economy heavily dependent on its three major car plants, trade data has shown. In a recent press release the Association of Automotive Industries said that Czech producers turned out some 560,000 motor vehicles in the first six months. The increase was mainla driven by the production of passenger and light utility cars. Volkswagen's unit Škoda Auto, the largest Czech car maker, raised output by 16.7 percent to around 286,000 vehicles. TPCA Czech and Hyundai Motors are the other two major producers.
Former Finance Minister Eduard Janota will take up one of three available posts on the supervisory board of the state-owned energy giant ČEZ, the business and news website iHned has reported. Mr Janota received the offer from his successor Miroslav Kalousek and has already accepted. The board will meet on August 12 to discuss the changes, which will see the introduction of two more new members. The chairman of the board is expected to be a member of the coalition-leading Civic Democrats, iHned said, allowing stronger communication between the board and the prime minister.
The regional court in České Budějovice has handed a 25-year-old man, found guilty of murdering his two-month-old daughter last year, an exemplary sentence of 20 years behind bars. The defendant in the case admitted to hitting the baby once but denied taking further actions. However, an autopsy revealed intentional and additional brutality that left the infant beyond the help of emergency workers. The incident took place last December 31, after the man had an argument with his partner. Both parents, the authorities said, were users of marijuana and the Czech methamphetamine known as pervetin.
The police have asked the public for help in providing possible information to help with their search for Monika Křivosková, a 13-year-old girl who has gone missing in the area of Příbram. The teenager, police say, could be in immediate danger; the authorities are also searching for her 19-year-old boyfriend. The teen disappeared on Wednesday, last seen at around five am by her mother. Police have asked anyone with knowledge of her possible whereabouts to contact them directly.
Czech athlete Barbora Špotáková came first in the javelin at a Diamond League meeting in Monaco on Thursday evening. Just a week before the European Athletics Championships get underway in Barcelona, the Olympic champion and world record holder topped the podium with a throw of 65.76 metres. Another Czech medal hopeful in Barcelona will be Petr Svoboda; he finished fourth in the men’s 110 metres hurdles at the Diamond League meet.
The new environment minister, Pavel Drobil, says he wants to simplify and decrease the amount of paperwork his ministry requires of businesses. In presenting his priorities to reporters on Thursday, Mr Drobil said that he sees the regulation of small and medium-sized businesses as ineffective, because they play a negligible role in polluting the environment. Citing a ministerial analysis from 2008 that shows that three percent of businesses are responsible for 80% of all air pollution, Mr Drobil said he wanted to heavily regulate these polluters while taking the burden off of smaller companies. The ministry will therefore attempt to simplify the system and decrease the number of regulated businesses through amendments to laws regarding air pollution and waste.