News President, Finance Minister, agree that boost in state investment is needed
President Miloš Zeman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš have agreed that in line with economic growth the state should increase investment in public projects. Mr Zeman, coming off a three-day tour of the Liberec region, said he and the finance minister would meet for talks in the coming days. The Liberec region welcomed the idea of increased funds, such as the planned renovation of local roads and infrastructure. The Transport Minister Antonín Prachař is also to take part in the talks. One problem is that not all projects are developed far enough to be eligible for funding at this point, the Czech News Agency writes.
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Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has criticized plans to increase the salaries of lawmakers and other public officials by 14 percent. Mr Sobotka told the news website novinky.cz on Friday the wage hike should correspond to the growth of salaries in the public sector which is some 3.5 percent. Coalition leaders said on Thursday they would reconsider the proposed 14-percent surge in public officials’ salaries after the plans came under criticism from the public as well as some opposition MPs.
Security at state institutions increased after another suspicious letter arrives at Interior Ministry
Security at Czech ministries, government offices and other state institutions has been tightened after Interior Ministry received another letter containing suspicious substance on Friday. This has been the third such letter to have arrived at the ministry in last two weeks; one of them was found to contain poison. A poison letter also arrived at the Finance Ministry last week while envelopes containing harmless substances have been delivered to the office of the president and the commercial TV channel Prima. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told a news conference on Friday the police would closely monitor mailed addressed to state institutions which would receive manuals on how potentially dangerous shipments can be recognized. Mr Chovanec also said he believed that the perpetrators would soon be traced.
Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has said that Kurds injured in the fighting against Islamic State radicals could be treated in Czech spas. The Foreign Minister made the proposal during his one-day visit to Baghdad on Thursday. Mr Zaorálek held talks with President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister of the Kurdish regional government Nechirvan Barzani in Erbil. Czech military aid to the Iraqi armed forces was also on the agenda of the talks.
Czech football club Sparta drew 0:0 against Italy’s Napoli in the Europa League on Thursday evening in Prague, with the Czech club dominating the whole game. Sparta was beaten in their first match against the Italians 3:1, but have since recorded three successive victories; both clubs are now tied on nine points at the top of the standings. The Czech team is next scheduled to play against the Swiss Young Boys Bern in spring.
Czech brewery Budějovický Budvar has won a 21-year long dispute with Anheuser-Bush InBev over the registration of the Budweiser trademark in Norway, the brewery’s spokesman Petr Samec told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. Budvar applied for the trademark in December 1993, but the world biggest brewer filed an objection. The final ruling allows Budvar to continue selling its beer in Norway under the Budweiser trademark. Legal disputes over the famous trademark have been going on since 1907.
The newly appointed Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová has said that the city council will be dealing with hot issues such as Opencard or waste collection at its meeting next week. In an interview for the business daily Hospodářské noviny, Mrs Krnáčová said the city council would present a solution for Pragues’s transport pass known as Opencard by Christmas. Prague City Hall has been locked in a drawn-out dispute with eMoney Services and took over the running of the card after the contract for its operation expired. However it lacks the right to change or re-programme the existing software.
Air pollution exceeded the permitted levels on Thursday in parts of Moravia, particularly the Ostrava and Karviná regions, according to the data released by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute. Moravia and Silesia is one of Europe’s most polluted regions due to heavy industry located on both sides of the Czech-Polish border. Air pollution is a problem especially in the winter months, when the situation is aggravated by coal heating.
A newborn girl was placed in a baby box in Brno on Thursday afternoon, making her to be the 110th child to be left there since the network was established in the country in 2005. Doctors said the baby, who was given the name Jana, was in a good condition. There are a total of 63 babyboxes in different locations around the Czech Republic, and in the past nine years, 63 girls and 43 boys were left in them.
The Česká Hlava awards will be handed out to six outstanding Czech scientists in Prague on Thursday. The main prize for lifelong work goes to biochemist Emil Paleček, who discovered electro-technical properties of nucleic acids. Chemical engineer Karel Kolomazník will receive the award for innovation in finding new ways to recycle toxic waste from the leather industry. The awarding ceremony will take place on Thursday night and the winners will receive 1.7 million crowns. The Česká Hlava awards project was launched in 2002 by private companies and has become one of the most prestigious events in the world of science.
President says recommendation of Czech Radio Council does not concern him
President Miloš Zeman said the recommendation of the Council for Czech Radio not to broadcast further live interviews with him after he used vulgar language on air did not concern him. Speaking to journalists during his visit to Tajikistan on Thursday, Mr Zeman said it was up to Czech Radio’s management to deal with the situation. The recommendation came in reaction to a recent scandalous broadcast in which President Miloš Zeman used a number of vulgar expressions. According to the Council, both the law and the broadcaster's ethical codex were breached; at the same time, the council conceded that surprise had played a strong role in the interviewer’s mild reaction to the language used.