Former Czech president Václav Klaus says he expects the incumbent, Miloš Zeman to stand for a second term. Speaking to the Czech News Agency, Mr. Klaus, who himself held the post for 10 years, said his successor had considerable support and that there was no point in competing against him if he runs. Polls have consistently suggested that Mr. Zeman is one of the most trusted politicians in the Czech Republic. Mr. Klaus said Mr. Zeman had not told him he was planning a second candidacy; he had merely deduced it from his behaviour. There have been suggestions that Mr. Klaus himself might seek a third term.
Around 200 Czech police officers on Tuesday took part in exercises near the border with Austria meant to simulate the influx of a large number of refugees. The exercises went on in the village of Dolní Dvořiště in South Bohemia, the town of Mikulov in South Moravia and in the countryside, with officers testing registration centres that would function in the same way as those that now exist in Macedonia and Hungary, said the Czech police president, Tomáš Tuhý.
The Czech Republic is prepared to take in Syrian refugees directly from Turkey, the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said on Tuesday. This would partially fulfil the country’s existing quota under a European Union scheme relocating asylum seekers around the 28-member bloc. Mr. Sobotka – who defended a new EU deal with Turkey aimed at easing the migration crisis – rejected any increase in the Czech Republic’s quota and said the transfers of Syrians from Turkey would only be a temporary measure. Speaking in the lower house, he said the Balkan migration route had been closed and that NATO monitoring had begun in the Aegean Sea, adding that the problem of Greece now needed to be resolved.
The biggest employers in the Czech Republic are the police, Czech Post and the ministries of defence and justice, according to a list compiled by the news website Aktuálně.cz. At the start of this year just under 50,000 people were employed by the police, while the country’s postal service had 31,000 staff on its books. The Agrofert group owned by the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, is the biggest private sector employer, followed by Škoda Auto.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic fell to 6.3 percent in February from 6.4 percent the previous month, according to figures released on Tuesday by the national Labour Office. It said that just over 460,000 people were out of work in February. Employers were seeking to fill almost 115,000 positions last month, the highest figure recorded since October 2008. The year-on-year fall in the jobless rate was more striking as it stood at 7.5 percent in February 2015.
Czech equal rights activists marking International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day has lost its original socialist connotations and is today being marked by equality activists in the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported on Tuesday. Seminars and discussions have been organised to observe the day, which falls on March 8 every year, while some politicians have also highlighted unequal conditions between the genders. Just a few years ago International Women’s Day was still a divisive issue; the Senate proposed repeatedly that it be removed from the country’s list of significant days but the move was blocked by the Chamber of Deputies.
The Czech Republic has just experienced one of the warmest meteorological winters recorded, the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said on Tuesday. All three months in the past meteorological winter, which ends on the last day of February, were warmer than average, with temperatures in December and February four degrees Celsius higher than the average for the time of year. The previous warmest winter was in 2006/2007.
The Czech agriculture sector saw a fall in profits of over 50 percent year-on-year in 2015, according to figures released by the Czech Agricultural Association on Tuesday. While the industry saw profits of CZK 19 billion in 2014, last year the figure stood at CZK 9 billion. The fall has been attributed to a decline in commodity prices that hit animal products, particularly milk and pork.
Meteorologists have warned heavy snowfall in the Czech-Moravian highlands and central Bohemia over the course of Tuesday could complicate conditions on Czech roads. Up to 15 centimetres of new snow are expected. in the regions of Vysočina, central Bohemia, Pardubice and Hradec Králové and drivers were warned to take extra caution due to expected low visibility. Heightened warnings will remain in effect until 9 PM.
Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr picked up assist in the Florida Panthers’ loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday, pushing the legendary Gordie Howe to fourth spot on NHL all-time points list. On Monday night the 44-year-old Czech legend set up the game’s opening goal to reach 1851 points. Jágr is now 36 points behind the second-place record set by Mark Messier. The Panthers are second in the Atlantic division, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning.