News

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Number of foreigners working legally increases significantly

The number of foreigners working legally in the Czech Republic rose significantly in the last year, according to figures released by the Labour Ministry. There were almost 190,000 foreign citizens working legally in this country in the period to the end of February; that is 40,000 more than in the previous twelve months. Half the foreign workers are Slovaks, with Poles making up the second biggest group.

Bursik wants to replace nuclear safety head over Temelin leaks

The environment minister, Martin Bursik, wants to replace the head of the State Nuclear Safety Office, Dana Drabova, following two radioactive leaks at the Temelin nuclear power plant. Mr Bursik told Czech TV that Ms Drabova bore direct responsibility and should take active measures instead of downplaying the problem.

New skyscraper would be Prague's tallest building

The investment group J&T is planning to build a new 42-storey skyscraper in Prague's Holesovice district which would be the tallest building in the city, the weekly Euro reported. It said the new skyscraper should be tens of metres higher than the current highest construction, an unfinished Czech Radio building in Prague 4 which measures 109 m.

Military intelligence chief to be let go

The head of the Czech military intelligence Miroslav Krejcik is to be let go before his term of office comes to an end. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Mr Krejcik's departure was part of a planned reform of the secret services. Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova recently criticised Mr Krejcik for appearing in the media, which she said devalued his agency's work.

2012 target for euro adoption, public finance gap set to rise

The government has approved a revised version of its convergence programme, including a target date for euro adoption of 2012. The document concedes the public finance gap will reach 4 percent of GDP this year, higher than the 3.3 percent envisaged in the original version. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said the programme could expect justified criticism from the European Commission, but said if Prague could prove it was serious about reforms there would be no real threat of sanctions.

Shots fired after man drives at police officer on Wenceslas Square

A policeman fired a shot at a moving car in the centre of Prague on Monday. When police ordered the vehicle's driver to stop during a control on Wenceslas Square, he drove straight at one officer, who was lifted on to the car's bonnet. The policeman fired into the air before firing at the car itself. The driver was arrested minutes afterwards.

Home-schooling to be permitted to age 15 under ministry plan

The Education Ministry is planning to allow Czech parents to teach their children at home to a later age, Hospodarske noviny reported. Currently home-teaching is permitted for pupils to the fifth grade of elementary school, meaning to age 11. Under the new system they could be taught at home until the final, ninth grade, to age 15.

Czech farmers to blockade border over pork imports

Czech farmers are planning to blockade the Austrian border in protest against increased imports of pork by chain stores in the Czech Republic, the president of the Czech Agrarian Chamber Jan Veleba said on Monday. He said Czech pig husbandry was threatened with collapse and that the practices of chain stores led to billions of crowns in losses a year. Mr Veleba would not say when the blockades will take place or at which border crossings.

Identification of patients and staff to increase hospital security

The Health Ministry is planning a new law under which all hospital staff and patients would have to wear clear identification, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The move is intended to increase security in hospitals and protect patients, the paper said. The new law also envisages hospitals preparing and maintaining their own security regulations.

Eight charged over extremist clashes

Eight people have been charged after clashes between members of far-right and hard-left groups in Prerov on Saturday, police said. Bottles and cobblestones were thrown as police struggled to keep 180 members of a group called National Corporativism apart from 150 left-wing extremists in the north Moravian town.

Police evacuate guesthouse after finding ammunition

At least 35 people were evacuated from a guesthouse in northern Bohemia on Sunday night after ammunition was found nearby. Explosives experts were called to the scene and identified the ammunition as a training device for tank gunnery. The police are now trying to ascertain who placed the ammunition on a wall close to the guesthouse.

Record opening weekend for new Sveraks film

Over 107,000 people saw the new Czech film Vratne Lahve (Refundable Bottles) in its opening weekend, in what is a modern record for Czech cinema. Director Jan Sverak said he was glad the film - written by and starring his father Zdenek - had also been enjoyed by other people.

Speed skater Sablikova sets new world record

The Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova set a new world record on Sunday when she completed the 5,000 m in a time of 6:45.61. As well as a new record the 19-year-old took gold in the event at the World Speed Skating Championships in Salt Lake City. Sablikova also took gold in the 3,000 m at the championships.

Weather

It should remain mostly sunny over the next couple of days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 18 degrees Celsius.