News Academician proposes Czech President Zeman for Nobel Peace Prize
President Miloš Zeman has told journalists he had no idea a Russian academician – Sergey Komkov – had proposed him as a nominee for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Komkov, the chairman of the All-Russian Fund of Education, praised Mr Zeman for a balanced approach to the situation in Ukraine and for the offer that the Czech Republic could act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine to try and solve the current crisis. Mr Zeman made the offer at the Eastern Partnership summit held in Prague on Thursday and Friday. Mr Zeman responded to journalists by saying that the peace prize was only awarded for “concrete results”.
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The Ministry of Justice has turned down a pardon request from Jiří Kajínek, who is serving a life sentence for two counts of murder and one of attempted murder in 1993. Mr. Kajínek, who claims he was framed, has twice failed in appeals to the Constitutional Court to have his case reopened. Czech Television reported that the ministry had written to the prisoner on Monday to inform him of its decision. The minister of justice, Helena Válková, has said she regards Mr. Kajínek’s sentence as overly harsh, though President Miloš Zeman said he would not pardon him as his life was not in danger.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is opposed to a special law on the Šumava national park tabled by a group of Senators and approved by the upper chamber. Speaking after a meeting with the minister of the environment, Richard Brabec, Mr. Sobotka said he favoured general legislation on the country’s national parks that has been drafted by the Ministry of the Environment. It would make more parts of four Czech national parks accessible to the public. The government is due to discuss the Senate bill on Wednesday; it was approved despite criticism from environmental groups and contradicts the Ministry of the Environment’s draft legislation.
The directorial debut of actor Miroslav Krobot, Díra u Hanušovic (Nowhere in Moravia), was the biggest film at the box office in the Czech Republic in the last week. The movie, an amusing drama set in a small town, took over CZK 3.5 million in its opening weekend on sales of almost 28,000 tickets. Mr. Krobot heads the popular Dejvické divadlo theatre and several of its actors appear in the film.
The Czech Republic’s Export Bank and Slovakia’s Eximbank are to sign an agreement on cooperation in supporting joint Czech and Slovak business ventures abroad. The agreement, which is to be signed in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Tuesday, aims to bolster the two countries’ positions particularly on markets in the Far East where the now defunct label Made in Czechoslovakia still has a high brand awareness. The head of the Czech Export Bank Karel Bureš told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes that the agreement did not envisage the revival of the Made in Czechoslovakia label, an idea that was recently rejected by the Slovak president, but merely intended to support the two countries’ joint presence in business ventures and thereby increase their competitiveness.
The Czech government is to sign a deal with the South Korean company Hyundai Mobis on the construction of a four billion crown plant for the production of car headlights in Mošnov, north Moravia. The construction of the plant should start in summer 2015, and be finished in nine to ten months. It is expected to create around 1,000 new jobs in an area where unemployment is traditionally high. Hyundai, which has promised to invest into the local infrastructure, will be eligible to corporate income tax relief for ten consecutive years.
The Association of Czech pharmacies has protested against the plans of Czech Post to deliver over-the-counter medicines as a new service. It argues that this form of enterprise would be in violation of the law since the medicines would not be sold by a pharmacist who can offer medical advice on how they should be taken. The post which is losing traditional clients due to electronic communication has been diversifying its activities in order to curb a steep fall in profits. It claims that it is fully within its rights in offering such a service since over-the-counter medicines are already available on the internet.
Repair work on the railway line between Prague and Kolín continues in the wake of Sunday’s accident in which a train took a wrong track and damaged a switch. According to a Czech Railways spokesperson the respective line may be out of operation until Tuesday midday. Express trains have been rerouted, while the undamaged line on this route is heavily taxed with delays of up to 30 minutes. Replacement buses remain in operation for many destinations.
The Finance Ministry on Monday revised the country’s economic growth forecast for 2014 upwards to 2.7 percent. The re-evaluation is based on the better-than-expected results in the first quarter. The original growth estimate for this year was 1.7 percent.
Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport is to undergo a 150 million crown reconstruction which will enable the airport to deal with an increased number of outgoing and incoming flights smoothly. The make-over is being made in preparation for the start of regular flights from Soul which will see the huge A380 airbuses land regularly at Prague airport, disgorging and taking on board a large number of passengers. The outsize plane made three landings in Prague last year and airport officials say it taxed the airport’s infrastructure to the limit. Under the present conditions such flights could delay others.
The blood plasma company Diag Human which is suing the Czech state for allegedly failing to protect its investment in the Czech Republic says the protracted court battle is not over. The company said on Monday it would appeal the verdict of a Czech arbitration court and take the case to a foreign court of law. The verdict of the arbitration court, delivered to both parties last week, is being interpreted differently. The Czech Health Ministry says it is a definitive verdict in the Czech Republic’s favour, meaning that following an appeal it will not have to pay the company eight billion crowns in compensation, while Diag Human claims that last week’s ruling upholds an earlier verdict according to which the Czech state will have to compensate the firm for a marred deal in the 1990s.