Czech politicians have criticised European guidelines tightening controls on gun ownership. MEP’s on Tuesday voted for the move, which comes in response to the Paris attacks in 2015, and sees greater restrictions on so-called “blank-firing” weapons. Roman Váňa of the lower house’s security committee said the Ministry of the Interior was considering taking legal action against the directives. Meanwhile, the minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said his ministry would start preparing a new bill that would allow gun owners to retain some weapons. He also welcomed the fact that some elements of the guidelines had been toned down in comparison with draft versions.
Bio-chemist Eva Zažímalová has been made chairwoman of the Academy of Sciences, the biggest scientific institution in the Czech Republic. The 62-year-old, who becomes the second woman to occupy the position, was appointed by President Miloš Zeman at Prague Castle on Tuesday. Ms. Zažímalová has said her priorities will be to improve the financial position of the academy and to encourage top class research.
The Czech pavilion at this year’s World’s Fair at Astana in Kazakhstan will be dominated by the concept of an electric sports plane of the future, organisers said on Tuesday. At present only two prototypes of the plane exist. The main part of the Czech centre at the Expo will be given over to modern technology produced by Czech companies. The pavilion will also offer Czech lager and foods.
The incomes detailed in an audit of the finances of Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš are at odds with a property declaration he made to the Chamber of Deputies, Czech Radio said on Tuesday. Its reporters found that the ANO chief and minister of finance had earned CZK 175 million in 2014 according to the audit. However, his parliamentary property declaration states that his income reached CZK 201 million. Mr. Babiš says the discrepancy is because the audit was only concerned with selected items. He ordered the audit after questions were raised over how he had funded the purchase of bonds in his company Agrofert.
Czech employers will make more new hires than redundancies in the coming months, suggests a survey conducted among 750 private companies and public-sector organisations by the Manpower agency. Eight percent of respondents said they would take on new staff in the second quarter while only 2 percent said they would let people go. The director of ManpowerGroup said the labour market had changed to the benefit of jobseekers in the last two years.
Former national football team coach Petr Rada has been appointed manager of Sparta Prague. He replaces Tomáš Požár and David Holoubek, who were sacked on Monday after a run of poor results. Rada, who is 58, has helmed a number of Czech top flight clubs, including Slavia Prague, Slovan Liberec and Viktoria Plzeň. He was assistant to national team manager Karel Brueckner and succeeded in him in 2008 before being dismissed the following year.
The management of Prague’s National Theatre have symbolically launched renovation work on the city’s State Opera. The project is set to cost over CZK 850 million and take 27 months, during which time the State Opera will put on productions at other venues. It is the first major renovation job on a large state-owned theatre since 1989. The National Theatre and the State Opera were merged in 2012.
Government leaders have failed to agree on a formula for increasing pension payments to the elderly. A proposal that pensions be increased by half the level of real wages instead of the current third was put forward by the leading government party, the Social Democrats. Both coalition parties ANO and the Christian Democrats had reservations and have called for further discussion. Figures from 2015 showed most pensioners receiving less than 11,230 crowns a month, just above the poverty level for individuals. Government leaders met late Monday.
Hoped for savings from the merger of the National Theatre and State Opera failed to emerge, the spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office has warned in its latest report. The merger took place in 2012 and costs initially fell by just under 1.0 percent. Afterwards though they rebounded strongly. Preparations for the merger also cost around 1.4 million crowns. The National Theatre has explained the rise in costs as stemming mostly from increased wages. The watchdog also pointed to dubious drawing on reserves, flawed accounting of foreign trips and expenses, and other accounting errors in the accounts.