News Galvanic plant fire causes 200 million in damages
Fire at a galvanic plant in Lanškroun, eastern Bohemia, has caused damages of around 200 million crowns, the news agency ČTK reported. The fire broke out shortly before Sunday noon; fire fighters could not immediately access the scene as carbon dioxide bombs were exploding inside; they only got the fire under control by Sunday evening. The authorities closed off several streets in the town, and warned people not to approach the scene of the fire. Causes of the fire are under investigation.
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The leader of the smallest government coalition party, the Christian Democrats Pavel Bělobrádek, has told delegates at the his party's congress in Zlín that the party needs to continue meeting its promises and to uphold its programme, saying backing the current coalition government was necessary to meet its goals. Mr Bělobrádek also stressed the Christian Democrats needed to change their image as a "clerical" or Christian party for Christians, saying they needed to show how it had changed and wanted to modernise the Czech Republic. On Saturday, Mr Bělobrádek was re-elected as chairman, receiving 251 out of a possible 275 votes from delegates.
Petr Čech started in goal on Sunday in the last match of the season in what is widely expected to be his last game for his longtime club Chelsea. The Czech player has been with Chelsea for 11 years and was the No. 1 goalkeeper for most of them. During that time he won four Premiership titles, the Champions League, and other honours. He is expected to sign with a new club this summer, a year before his contract with the Blues officially expires. Čech, a legend at the London club, lost his place as top 'keeper this year to Belgian Thibault Courtois.
The authorities on Sunday warned residents of Prague's Dejvice district to not drink their tap water, even after boiling, saying it was not safe. Around 100 people on Saturday night are reported to have suffered from diarrhea; around 40 people were taken to hospital. Even so, the infection is not considered serious and ill-effects should dissipate after six hours or so. The spokesman for Pražské vodovody a kanalizace, Tomáš Mrázek, warned the water likely contains coliform bacteria. The cause of the contamination is not yet known. The warning affects some 32,000 people and streets affected are listed at www.pvk.cz. Cisterns with drinking water have been set up in affected areas. Some restaurants in affected areas opted to close on Sunday after the warning was issued.
Former governor and Social Democrat MP David Rath, on trial on corruption charges, will reportedly be represented by lawyer Marcela Ondřejová of the firm Bezděk & Partner, provided no underlying reasons exist meaning she would have to turn the case down. The news was reported by the website Česká justice and confirmed by the defendant. A week or so ago Mr Rath withdrew power of attorney granted his previous defence team; his new lawyer was chosen ex officio. The former politician faces a possible seizure of assets and up to 12 years in prison if he is found guilty of having taken bribes and of having manipulated public tenders in the Central Bohemian region.
Following on from the finance minister on Friday, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited the Dukovany nuclear reactor on Saturday and outlined his scenario for how the sector should develop. Sobotka said the government’s recently approved long term energy framework envisages one new reactor at Dukovany and another at power company ČEZ’s second site at Temelín. Sobotka said Dukovany should have priority, partly because of the strong support for nuclear power in the region, and a tender for the new reactor there could be held by the end of 2016. Dukovany’s four current reactors are likely to be phased out from 2035 onwards.
The 66th Sudeten German Congress began in Augsburg, Bavaria, on Saturday with improved relations between Germany and the Czech Republic at the forefront of discussions. No mention was made of the Beneš Decrees, which controversially expelled around 3 million Germans, mostly living in the Sudetenland, from Czechoslovakia after WWII. German Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Emilia Müller said the Sudeten community, many of whom live in Bavaria, could be a foundation stone for improved German-Czech relations. She praised the resolution by Brno’s Council last week expressing regret for the expulsion of Germans to Austria in 1945. Around 1700 are believed to have died on a forced march out of the Czech city
Hundreds of Czechs have taken the chance to visit Czech Radio’s main headquarters in Prague during its traditional open day on Saturday. Visitors have the opportunity to tour studios, meet presenters and journalists, and attend a series of concerts being held for the occasion. Star presenters taking part included Jiří Chum, Lucie Výborná and Jan Pokorný. The doors opened to the public at 9 am with the event running till 5 pm..
Leader of the smallest government coalition party, the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), Pavel Bělobrádek was returned unopposed to the top post at the party’s conference in Zlín on Saturday. Bělobrádek received 251 out of a possible 275 votes. Minister of Agriculture, Marián Jureča, was returned as first deputy chairman. Bělobrádek said the party had succeeded in making a comeback without abandoning its traditional values. He set the next goal as defeating Communist-Social Democrat administrations in power in many regions.
ANO leader and minister of finance Andrej Babiš has said that he believes
the near 70 percent state controlled power company ČEZ should be able to
finance the construction of a new nuclear reactor at Dukovany from its own
resources. Babiš’ comments came during a visit to the nuclear reactor
site on Friday. The minister pointed out that ČEZ has one of the lowest
debt levels of all major European electricity companies and should be able
to cover the preparation and construction costs on its own.
How to finance new nuclear reactors has been a major issue within the coalition government after it announced last year that it would not guarantee the price of electricity from new nuclear reactors. ČEZ immediately afterwards cancelled its ongoing tender for two new reactors at its Temelín site. Dukovany’s existing four reactors are likely to be phased out between 2035 and 2037.
Czech diplomat and former politician Jana Hybášková has been selected to be the European Unions new ambassador to Namibia, the Czech daily Lidové Noviny has reported. Hybášková is currently EU ambassador to Iraq, a post where she has been perceived as performing well, the paper adds. She has held that post since 2011. Hybášková was formerly a Czech ambassador to Kuwait and has been a member of the European Parliament. She stood in elections for a series of centre parties, most recently the Christian Democrats.