Trades unions in the Czech Republic have announced an indefinite “strike
alert” in protest at government plans to cut the salaries of state
employees. The leader of the main unions organisation, Jaroslav Zavadil,
informed the Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, of the decision on Tuesday
morning. After that meeting, Mr Nečas said the government would not back
down over its plan to cut the total amount spent on public sector pay by
percent next year. The prime minister called for more talks with union
The right-of-centre coalition has pledged to balance the Czech Republic’s budget by 2016. It plans extensive reforms of the pension, health and tertiary education systems.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas says talk of electricity prices being kept at current levels next year is “unrealistic and populist”, due to a steep rise in the number of subsidised solar power generators. He said measures being prepared by the government could keep hikes down to 5 percent for households, and 7 to 8 percent for firms. The Energy Regulatory Office says that because of the boom in solar power plants households could pay up to 12 percent more for electricity next year, with businesses set to pay up to 17 percent more. Mr Nečas’s comments came a day after the minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, said electricity prices could be kept at current levels using incomes raised from the sale of emissions permits. The prime minister’s Civic Democrats and Mr Kalousek’s TOP 09 will be competing for many of the same conservative votes in imminent local and Senate elections.
The government says it wants to give local authorities more powers to improve air quality. Under a new amendment outlined by the prime minister, Petr Nečas, municipalities would be able to create low emissions zones, barring vehicles which don’t meet emissions standards, and limit some sources of pollution. The cabinet is set to discuss the legislation on Wednesday. Mr Nečas said it was a very topical matter, as parts of the Moravia-Silesia Region had recently been suffering from serious problems with smog.
Czech army pilots will have very little time to get used to new aeroplanes before they are deployed in Afghanistan at the start of next year, Hospodářské noviny reported. The Casa aircraft will only be available for training in the Czech Republic for a few weeks before pilots will have to fly them in Afghanistan, the newspaper said. One expert said such preparations would actually need several months. If the plan is approved by the Czech parliament, it will be the first time the country has sent planes to a war zone.
The owner of the runner-up in Sunday’s Grand Pardubice steeplechase says he will not contest the awarding of first place to Tiumen ridden by Josef Váňa. The owner of Amant Gris, Josef Hájek, said he would not lodge an appeal with the Czech Jockey Club and now wanted to put the matter behind him. Stewards accepted the claim of Amant Gris’s jockey Marek Stromský that Váňa had pressed him into a fence in the final stretch of the race. However, they said the incident had not affected the result of the race, which ended in a photo finish, and only imposed a small fine. It was the seventh win in the Grand Pardubice for veteran jockey Josef Váňa, who turns 58 next week.
A Czech judge who refused to take a police breathalyser test has resigned, Právo reported. Jiri Englich, who served at the Prague 9 district court, would only proffer his judge’s ID when pulled over by police in the centre of Prague last month, the newspaper said. He could face a fine and a ban of up to two years for refusing to be breathalysed.
The Forum 2000 conference came to a close in Prague on Tuesday afternoon. The annual event, which is organised by the Forum 2000 foundation of former Czech president Václav Havel, was being held for the 14th time this year. The main theme of the 2010 conference was “the world we want to live in”. Among the guest speakers were Iranian human rights campaigner, Cuban dissident Jose Luis Garcia Paneque and conservative British philosopher Roger Scruton.
The Czech ice hockey player Ondřej Pavelec has been released from hospital, days after collapsing during a game between his club Atlanta and Washington. In a statement on their website, Atlanta said preliminary results had suggested the 23-year-old goaltender had had a neurocardiogenic syncope episode, which is a kind of fainting spell. Pavelec suffered concussion when his head hit the ice during the season opening game. His club said he would undergo more tests this week for precautionary reasons.
Radek Štěpánek was knocked out by a player ranked 465th in the world at tennis’s Shanghai Masters on Tuesday. The Czech player, ranked 30th, was eliminated in the first round after losing 3-6 4-6 to Bai Yan of China, who is taking part in the first ATP tournament of his career. Štěpánek’s compatriot Tomáš Berdych fared better, beating Spain’s Tommy Robredo 6-0 6-4 to advance to the third round. The world number seven is hoping to win a place at the season-closing ATP World Tour Finals in London for the first time.
The Czech international Petr Čech is the third best soccer goalkeeper of the last ten years, according to the International Federation of Football Historians and Statistics. The 28-year-old, who plays for English club Chelsea, figures behind Italy’s Gianlugi Buffon and Iker Casillas of Spain in a provisional table. Though the IFFHS will not announce the goalkeeper of the decade until next year, no other keeper can leapfrog Čech under its points system.