The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says that public broadcaster Czech Television should be nationalised and financed directly from the state budget instead of via a license fee. Responding to users questions on the website Parlamentní listy, he also said that the station was a mouthpiece for the right-wing party TOP 09. Its chairman Miroslav Kalousek denied the assertion and said that Mr. Zeman and those around him were attacking Czech Television as they did not regard free speech as important.
The Czech police are to spend nearly CZK 46 million on new weapons in response to the threat of terrorism. The force plans to boost its specialised and rapid reaction units by buying over 1,000 new weapons by the middle of December, according to a posting on the public procurement bulletin quoted by the Czech News Agency. A spokesperson for the police said the purchases represented the second phase of a plan to rearm and reinforce special units.
The government has approved special welfare payments for workers laid off by the bankrupt mining company OKD. Under a plan announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, they are to receive between CZK 7,000 and CZK 8,000 a month for a period of between three months and five years, depending on years of service and age. The payments will go to all staff at OKD, not just miners. The company has around 10,000 employees in a region – Northern Moravia – with relatively jobless rates.
The 10th annual Literature Night is being marked in the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The event, which is organised by the Czech Centres network, will see readings from European literature by well-known film and stage actors at 21 places in Prague’s Karlín district and at 49 other locations around the country, starting at 18:00. A host of other European cities, including London, Madrid and Budapest, are also taking part.
Arches in Prague’s Negrelli Viaduct in the city’s Karlín district are to be converted into bars, galleries and even a cinema during the summer months, according to plans outlined by organisers the Centre for Central European Architecture. The iDnes.cz news site reported that arches that currently serve as car parks at the corner of Křižíkova and Sokolovská streets are to be refitted between June and October. The Negrelli Viaduct is the oldest rail bridge across the Vltava and was the longest viaduct in Europe until 1910.
The Czech government has approved a week’s leave for men who have become fresh fathers, the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, announced on Wednesday. If men subsequently go on paternity leave they will receive 70 percent of their base salary, which is the same percentage currently received by women on maternity leave. The cabinet vote had been delayed after Finance Minister Andrej Babiš came out against the plan. It will now go before the Chamber of Deputies.
Charles University is to drop the words “in Prague” from its name in Czech from September, Lidovky.cz reported on Wednesday. The move reflects the fact that the oldest university in the region now has faculties outside the capital, the news website said. Some historians have questioned the change, which comes in the year when the 700th anniversary of the birth of founder Charles IV is being celebrated.
ANO would come first in general elections with 25 percent of the vote, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the Median agency last month. The party would finish ahead of government partners the Social Democrats on 22 percent, the survey indicates. Some 14.5 percent of respondents said they would give their backing to the Communists, while the Civic Democrats would get 9.5 percent, ahead of fellow right-wingers TOP 09 on 9 percent. The Christian Democrats would receive 6.5 percent of the vote, the poll suggests.
The police are looking into the financial operations of the mining company OKD, which was declared bankrupt this week. Neovlivní.cz reported on Wednesday that officers were investigating whether hundreds of millions of crowns had been illegally taken out of the firm. An unnamed source told the news website there were suspicions that OKD managers and owners had not acted with due diligence in a number of transactions. The mining company, which has debts of over CZK 17 billion, employs around 10,000 people.
Prague City Hall is planning to ban Segways in certain parts of Prague, councillor for transport Petr Dolínek told the CTK news agency on Wednesday. The two-wheeled vehicles should be banned on pavements, cycle paths and residential areas in the city centre and selected districts. Details of the plan are still being finalized. The councillor said the move had been prompted by a growing number of collisions between Segway drivers and pedestrians.