A proposed new energy law completed its problematic second reading in the lower house of the Czech parliament Wednesday after considerable delays. Discussion over the shape of the new law took place on Tuesday and into Wednesday with hundreds of amendments proposed. The main critics of the proposed law, which among other things cushions the burden on industrial users of supporting renewable power, has been the Dawn Party. The national energy regulator, ERÚ, has also warned that that it could spark a massive new drain on public and state resources adding up to 150 billion crowns. Those fears have been brushed aside by the bill’s main sponsor, the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Replacement of faulty cables in Prague’s road tunnel Blank could cost an addition 1.0 billion crowns according to an estimate by the company which supplied them, ČKD Praha DIZ, which found its way into the hands of Czech daily Lidové Noviny. The estimate was contained in a letter dispatched to Prague City Hall at the end of November which highlighted numerous problems with the ongoing construction. The letter also highlighted the danger to safety systems in the tunnel caused by the use of cables which were damaged by water although it was clear they should have been watertight. Prague City Hall has postponed opening of the tunnel indefinitely as it tries to resolve the latest problems .
Czech based computer anti-virus and security company Avast said revenues and profits for 2014 rose by around 50%. Profits and revenues are seen rising at a slightly lower rate this year. Avast is expecting to open a new office headquarters in Prague’s Pankrác area this year. Around 90% of Avast’s workforce is based in the Czech Republic, mainly at offices in Prague and Brno. Avast is the biggest provider of computer security software in the world. The offer of free security software is to be expanded to business customers as part of a new business model.
Minister of Transport Dan Ťok has said he will try to ensure more repairs on motorways and highways are scheduled to take place during the night to try and curb disruption to traffic. The minister said such scheduling would mean higher bills for maintenance but delays and accidents should be curbed as a result. He was speaking after his first 100 days in office. Ťok said that complications with staging a new tender for an operator of motorway tolls for lorries would probably mean that the current controversial deal with the Austrian-based Kapsch would have to be extended. Kapsch won the original 10 year tender in 2006 with the deal under fire for the high installation and operating costs.
Average wages in the Czech Republic rose by 2.3% in the four quarter of 2014 compared with a year earlier to total 27,200 crowns, the Czech Statistics Office said on Wednesday. For the whole of the year the average pre-tax wage came to 25,686 crowns a real rise of 2.0 percent after taking into account inflation. The highest wages are still in Prague but growth there in the fourth quarter was the lowest across the country.
Infamous Czech prisoner Radovan Krejčíř has won a worldwide following for his dubious soccer skills after a video of him playing football with Oscar Pistorius in the courtyard of a South African jail was put on the web. Both Krejčíř and Pistorius are being held in Pretoria’s Kgosi Mampuru prison. Paralympic athlete Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail for shooting his girlfriend last year. Czech businessman Krejčíř has been detained in custody. A local South African paper said other prison inmates were angered that the footballing duo were being given special treatment.
Czech humanitarian organisations have denounced what they describe as the ‘shameful’ level of Czech government aid in the Middle East. Around half a dozen charities made a joint statement suggesting that the Czech Republic should be capable of providing refuge to around 1,000 refugees from the civil war in Syria rather than the 70 offered asylum so far. The charities argue that the Czech Republic should feel a moral responsibility to providing refuge after so many Czech were given asylum in other countries during the Cold War. It is estimated that around 4 million have fled the conflict in Syria.
The woman who was seriously injured in the Uherský Brod shootings two weeks ago has been transferred from the local hospital to Prague’s Vinohrady teaching hospital. The woman is in a stable condition following an earlier operation and this made her transfer possible. Although the shooting victim is ready to be discharged from hospital, further specialist care is expected to speed her full recovery. The woman was shot in the chest but was able escape from the restaurant where the shooting spree took place. Eight people died in the attack with the attacker then turning his gun on himself.
Half the bread and bread rolls produced in the Czech Republic contain more the recommended level of salt, according to the consumer group Vím, co jím a piju (I Know What I Eat and Drink). Tests it carried out found that showed that ordinary white rohlík rolls and brown bread with caraway seeds were most likely to have salt levels above those recommended by the World Health Organization. A representative of Vím, co jím a piju Czechs consumed three times the five grammes of salt a day recommended by the WHO.
There are 72 unlicensed nursing homes in the Czech Republic, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs. Administrative proceedings that may result in fines have been taken against 20 old folks’ homes and homes for people with dementia and other diseases. The ombudswoman recently highlighted the issue of the elderly receiving inadequate and undignified treatment at some facilities. There are around 800 registered nursing homes in the Czech Republic. A new bill regulating what is a growing industry should come into effect in 2017.