A head-on collision between two trains in the direction of Prague and Česky Brod was narrowly averted on Monday afternoon, after a similar mistake at the weekend. The spokeswoman for SŽDC, the body overseeing the country’s railway infrastructure, confirmed that the trains had been stopped in time. The near tragedy meant that transport along the route was delayed for almost one hour.
The head of the Social Democratic Party, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, has refused to comment on speculation over his possible departure as party leader, saying only that the Social Democrats’ top leadership would address current developments this Wednesday. Speculation over his departure, possibly even before the autumn election, has been high after one poll suggested voter preference for the party had continued to fall following a recent government crisis. There have been reports, however, that the party agreed last Friday that Mr Sobotka should stay on. Czechs go to the polls in October to elect a new government. Public surveys have repeatedly put the ANO party, led by Mr Babiš, in front.
Prague residents and developers will be able to access a new app showing proposed or recent changes to the city’s ground plan. The aim, Prague Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská said, was to better inform the public about future progress. The website is going under the name www.zmenaplanu.cz. The application allows users not only to look up new developments but to click on a watchdog feature providing automatic updates on specific areas.
A UN-sponsored travelling exhibition called Wild for Life, promoting the protection of endangered flora and fauna, has opened at Václav Havel International Airport in Prague. The news was confirmed by the Environment Ministry’s Dominika Pospíšilová; the exhibit, held at major international airports, came to Prague after Beijing.
The number of inhabitants in the Czech Republic got a slight bump in the first quarter of 2017, rising by 247 people. The current population of the country is 10,579,067. The bump was due to immigration, not new births during the first-three months which were outnumbered by deaths. From January to March, there were 31,804 deaths, the highest for the first quarter since 1994. The numbers were released by the Czech Statistical Office.
A convoy of American soldiers are passing through the Czech Republic from Monday to Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Czech Army said. The US troops are based in Germany and are on their way to training exercises in other countries. Around 400 soldiers will travel through Czech territory in 120 vehicles in two separate waves. More such movements – involving 1,600 troops in total – are taking place later this month and at the start of July.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is set to meet Queen Elizabeth II in London on Friday, the Czech News Agency reported, citing a source close to Mr. Zeman’s office. Prague Castle officials requested the audience with the UK head of state, the news agency said. Mr. Zeman is also set to present a diploma of promotion to the rank of general to Miroslav Antonín Liškutín, a Czechoslovak pilot who flew with the RAF during the war and was promoted in his absence in Prague on May 8.
The Social Democrat minister of health, Miloslav Ludvík, says he does not know if increasing the pay of nurses will bring about the desired effect of boosting recruitment. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Mr. Ludvík said that there had been a personnel crisis in the country’s healthcare system for some years. He said it was hardest to find nurses for shift work and that the most severe shortages were felt in May, June and the summer months. Legislators recently shortened the number of years of study required to become a nurse from seven to five years in another bid to increase numbers.