The government has decided to take a neutral stance on a proposal from a lower house lawmaker that days are set aside to commemorate the lives of Karel IV and his mother, Eliška Premyslovna. A proposal from Úsvit (Dawn) backbencher Augustin Sylor would means that special days, but not state holidays, would be earmarked for the two historical personalities. The day market Karel IV would probably be May 14, the anniversary of his birth. So far there are 12 such special days in the year. A similar move in the lower house failed to progress further last year.
Czech president Miloš Zeman is characterised in the latest edition of the German news weekly Der Spiegel as a Vladimir Putin loyalist. It adds that his policy appears more directed towards the East than the West and highlights his stance against the continuation of EU sanctions against Russia. Zeman’s predecessor as Czech head of state, Václav Klaus is included in the list of European populists. The magazine points out that Klaus attended meeting of the right wing party Alternative For Germany (AFD) while still in power. The magazine argues that populist movements both on the right and left are on the rise.
The US producer of electric cars and batteries Tesla Motors could build a second large factory in the Czech Republic north of Prague, according to the website The Space Invader. Tesla Motor’s founder, Elon Must, recently announced plans for a factory making both batteries and cars somewhere in Europe. A first factory has already under construction in the United States. Sources say one factor favouring the Czech Republic is the fact that the country has mineable Lithium reserves. Lithium is an essential raw material for high performing batteries. Other factors include low labour costs, the low cost of land, and the country’s central position. The Ministry of Industry and Trade said it would not comment on investment plans before they were finalised.
Minister for Transport Dan Ťok has sought clarification from the Ministry for Regional Development about whether a new law might not inadvertently exclude state railway company Czech Railways from taking part in future tenders to operate rail routes. The problem revolves around a new law aimed at excluding companies with non-transparent shareholders from tenders. The state railway company according to certain interpretations would be caught by the new law, which took effect at the start of October, because its specific share structure. Other state companies might also be at risk such as the state electricity network company ČEPS and the electricity market operator OTE.
The Czech Republic’s high voltage electricity network operator, ČEPS, appears to have won a victory with a decision out of the Ljubljana-based Agency for the Coordination of European Energy Regulators (ACER) to divide the Austrian and German joint trading area. Prague has long campaigned for the move arguing that the existence of the large electricity trading bloc exacerbated risks of distorted and damaging electricity flows and trading conditions in neighbouring countries. The Czech Republic will be part of a new capacity region covering North-West and Central and Eastern Europe. ČEPS’s Austrian counterpart has signalled that it will appeal the moving citing the risk of a 15 percent rise in Austrian electricity prices.
More than 100 theatres and libraries in around 35 Czech towns and cities will be taking part in Theatre Night on Saturday. Visitors to many theatres will be shown behind the scenes, can tour the actors dressing rooms, and meet actors as part of the programme of events. Many theatres are offering special children’s performances meaning that many of the events start in the morning. Libraries have also signed up, with the Václav Havel library in Prague, for example, staging two plays by Havel. It’s the fourth year of the European event.
The Anti-trust Office has issued a decision preventing the Health Ministry from signing an agreement with the Slovak firm Air Transport Europe on an emergency medical helicopter service in the Usti nad Labem region. The Anti-trust Office did not specify the reasons for it decision. Health Ministry spokesman Ladislav Šticha said that if the ministry was unable to sign the agreement in time, the service would temporarily be provided from Prague as of January 1st.
Jaroslava Jermanová of the ANO party has been elected governor of the Central Bohemia region. Ms. Jermanová, who has said she would now give up her deputy post in Parliament, was elected by 42 council votes, twenty councillors abstained and two were against. The ANO party won the elections in the region, forming a coalition government with the Mayors and Independents, the Civic Democrats and TOP 09.
Music lovers will get a rare opportunity to saviour a Space and Sound concert involving three orchestras at Forum Karlín in Prague on Saturday. The audience will hear Karlheinz Stockhausen’s unique Gruppen for three orchestras, the electronic piece Gesang der Jünglinge and John Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis. The three orchestras are the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, the Ostrava band and the Stonava Miners’ Brass Band. At Space and Sound concerts the audience sits right in the middle of the orchestra. It is the first time that such a concert will be performed in Prague.