News No final decision yet on Blanka Tunnel
An arbitration court had not yet reached a final decision in the Blanka Tunnel case, in which the construction firm Metrostav and the City of Prague are at odds. The court did approve a list of items to be completed at the cost of 40 million crowns, Deputy Mayor Jiří Nouza told the Czech News Agency. An earlier court decision stated that Prague had to pay a remaining 4 billion crowns, while Metrostav had to complete the tunnel by September. No opening date for the tunnel has yet been set and will hinge on the installation of technology for the running of the entire complex.
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Czechs are less inclined to favour Arabs, Romanies and Albanians, suggests a new poll conducted by the CVVM agency, focusing on Czechs’ perception of 17 foreign nationalities living in the country. Slovaks have traditionally been regarded as the most popular foreigners in the Czech Republic, with 84 percent of respondents appreciating their eastern neighbours. And despite a slight drop in sympathies, Greeks and Jews remain among the five best perceived foreign nationalities living in the Czech Republic, along with Slovaks, Germans and Hungarians. On the other side of the scale are Roma, followed by Russians, Ukrainians, Albanians and Arabs.
Czech farmers made a record profit in 2014, according to the figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Friday. Agricultural earnings increased by nearly 40 percent, to 22.9 billion crowns, which represents the best results since 1989, when monitoring started. The record figure is the result of an extraordinarily good harvest and higher subsidies. The value of agricultural production increased by more than eight billion crowns compared with 2013 to 136.6 billion. Revenues from cultivation of crops reached 79.5 billion and livestock production rebounded after several years of decline to total 51.6 billion.
The chief of staff of the Czech army Petr Pavel on Thursday visited Czech soldiers serving in the EU training mission in war damaged Mali. General Pavel, who is set to take a senior NATO post next summer, met with the mission head Alfons García-Vaquero, who thanked him for the excellent work of the Czech soldiers. The Czech Army on Thursday started rotating its soldiers taking part in the mission. The Czech unit in the African state is responsible for guarding the mission’s headquarters, escorting convoys, and the training of new soldiers. The state in Central Africa was the subject of civil strife when Islamic rebels took over a large part of the county.
The mountain rescue service in Jeseníky Mountains has called a third degree avalanche alert on a five point scale. Relatively mild temperatures, strong winds and heavy snowfall over the past few days are reported to have created a highly unstable layer of snow on many slopes. Skiers have been warned not to take risks or stray from marked trails.
The Czech Republic claimed the first gold medal of the 2015 International Biathlon Union World Championships with a victory in the mixed relay in Kontiolahti, Finland on Thursday. Despite facing tough conditions, with soft deep snow and temperatures above freezing, the winning team of Veronika Vítková, Gabriela Soukalová, Michal Šlesingr and Ondřej Moravec finished in a time of 1:20:27.2. The silver medal went to the French team while Norway took the bronze.
Fifty-seven percent of Czechs say they would welcome the introduction of electronic voting, according to the results of a survey conducted by the STEM agency. Politicians are increasingly open to the idea and the Christian Democrats of the ruling coalition have said they would like to see the option introduced as of 2017. Electronic voting was the subject of a seminar in the lower house on Thursday at which MPs could discuss various aspects of this practice. Estonia was the first and so far only European country to introduce electronic voting eight years ago.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has thrown his weight behind Education Minister Marcel Chládek who is radically opposed to a proposed cut in financing for the education sector in 2016. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has proposed slashing the education and research budget by more than a billion crowns next year which the education minister says would have devastating consequences. Following a meeting with Minister Chládek and university rectors on Thursday Prime Minister Sobotka said that he too disagreed with the proposed cuts saying that economizing in the education sector would not increase the country’s competitiveness in the years to come. This year the education sector is operating on 22 billion crowns.
The Brno Municipal Court has sentenced former Brno police chief Jaroslav Přikryl to twenty months in prison for abuse of office and unauthorized handling of data. According to the state attorney, Přikryl repeatedly got his friends and acquaintances out of having to pay fines for traffic offences and he unlawfully manipulated the police database. The former police chief has appealed the verdict.
Prague mayor calls for parliamentary commission to investigate problematic construction of Blanka tunnel
Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová has asked legislators to form a
parliamentary commission which would conduct a thorough investigation into
the problematic construction of Prague’s Blanka tunnel. Following another
unsuccessful meeting with contractors at which she said everyone tried to
lay the blame of everyone else, the mayor said her patience was at an end
and she wanted to know who was responsible for the numerous failings
surrounding the tunnel’s construction. The mayor said it appeared to be a
criminal conspiracy to get as much money from the city’s coffers as
It recently emerged that the tunnel would not be open until next year at the soonest, as hundreds of kilometers of water-damaged cables have to be replaced. The tunnel which has cost Prague 37 billion crowns was originally meant to open in 2011.
The Czech Republic has one of the biggest discrepancies in pay between men and women within the European Union, according to data provided by Eurostat. While the European average is 16.4 percent, the average discrepancy in salaries for men and women in the Czech Republic is 21.1 percent. Estonia has the highest discrepancy – at 29.9 percent – followed by Austria with 23 percent. The smallest discrepancy in wages is in Slovenia where the difference is a mere 3.2 percent.