Adverse weather conditions delayed the planned flight of five of Gripen fighter jets to Iceland scheduled for Thursday morning, according to Czech military sources. The jets and a number of soldiers were scheduled to fly to Iceland within a joint military operation to protect Iceland's airspace. The main part of the 75 member Czech contingent is already there. The Czech army was originally to protect Iceland’s airspace for five weeks but agreed to extend it to seven at NATO’s request.
Czech consumer prices grew annually by 0.7 percent in September, after an 0.6.percent annual growth registered in August, according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Thursday. Compared to the previous month, prices decreased by 0.5 percent in September. Analysts city a surge in food and soft drink prices as the main factor behind the growth.
President Miloš Zeman has vetoed a bill that would discontinue the existence of outdoor nurseries known as forest kindergartens, his office said in a statement. The president said the legislation would limit the choice of child care alternatives, thus undermining beneficial civic activities. The so-called Children Groups Act was to provide legal basis for various child care groups created due to lack of places in public kindergartens, requiring them to register and meet comprehensive hygiene rules which would in effect lead to the closure of 120 forest kindergartens across the country. Some 11,000 people signed a petition calling on lawmakers to amend the bill in order to allow these facilities to exist.
Over 65 percent of 11-year-old Czechs have tried alcohol, often with their parents’ knowledge, according to a survey funded by Czech spirits producers. The survey also found that 83 percent of minors aged between 11 and 15 have experienced alcohol. Sananim, a Czech NGO working with drug addicts which cooperated on the survey, blamed the wide-spread use of alcohol among Czech minors on the fact that adults tend to perceive alcohol as a symbol of success and power.
Czech artist Jiří David has been selected to design the Czecho-Slovak pavilion at the Venice Biennale next year, Adam Bubak from the selection panel said. The project, co-curated Katarína Rusnáková and entitled Apotheosis – Where Is My Home, has been chosen from 38 proposals; Mr Bubak described the project as “very complex and reflective of the world we live in”. The prestigious Venice Biennale, whose 56th edition is to be held next May, is the world’s oldest art festival.
Two men staged a pro-Ukrainian protest during a news conference held by ministers of the Czech government on Wednesday. The men rose in their seats, stripped themselves to the waist baring slogans calling on the prime minister to adopt a tougher stance towards Russia. In a statement handed out to reporters, the protesters criticized the government’s alleged links with Czech machinery firms making deals with “Putin’s Russia”. The men were detained by security officers; a government’s spokesman said they had been accredited for the news conference as reporters of a student magazine. It’s unclear whether security at the seat of the government will be tightened in the wake of the incident, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said.
The police have detained a man who allegedly made a hoax bomb threat at the Finance Ministry on Tuesday, a police spokeswoman said. Some 800 people were evacuated from the ministry building at central Prague but no explosives were found. The suspect, identified as a 20-year-old man from the north-eastern Šumperk region, had made similar threats in the past, according to the police. If found guilty, he faces up to five years in prison.
President Miloš Zeman has vetoed the civil service bill, a spokesman for the president’s office said. The legislation, which the government believes should depoliticize the country’s administration and introduce rules for appointing civil servants, was approved by the Czech Parliament earlier this month. However, Mr Zeman had earlier indicated he would veto the bill over the fact that it introduces politically appointed deputy ministers. Mr Zeman also argued the bill was approved in breach of the Czech Parliament’s rules of procedure. The president had warned he would take the issue to the Constitutional Court if his veto is overturned in a new lower house vote. e.
The Czech government on Wednesday failed to take a stand on draft legislation allowing registered partners to adopt children, deputy prime minister Pavel Bělobrádek said. The government’s legislative body initially suggested the bill, put forward by 25 MPs from several parties, be approved. However, the cabinet did not take a position on the legislation over opposition from Christian Democrat ministers who said no new bill was needed as adoptions by gay couples can be dealt with on the basis of existing law. In 2011, some 900 children lived in households of gay and lesbian couples, according to data from the official population census.
The national unemployment rate decreased in September to 7.3 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than in the previous month, the Czech Labour Office said on Wednesday. Compared to the same month last year, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point. Some 530,000 people were seeking jobs in September which was 6,100 fewer than in August. The number of vacancies grew slightly to over 56,000. The Ústí region registered the highest unemployment level of 10.2 percent; the lowest rate – 5.2 percent – was recorded in Prague.