State bail-out agency official arrested for corruption
A high-ranking official at the Czech Consolidation Agency has been charged with large-scale corruption. Executive board member Radka Kafkova was arrested in the middle of the night after she made a money exchange, Czech Television reports. The police have been investigating the case, which involves tens of millions of crowns, for three years. One of the Consolidation Agency's main tasks is to bail state-owned companies out of problematic loans.
Social Democrats: centre-right coalition rejects generous compromise solution
Outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek says the centre-right coalition has rejected a generous compromise solution that would have put an end to the political deadlock. The three-party coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens has been trying to form a government but is one vote short of a majority in the lower house of Parliament. On Wednesday, the Social Democrats proposed to name a candidate other than Lubomir Zaoralek for the post of lower house speaker and give up control of a parliamentary commission. The coalition has rejected the offer.
Three-party coalition puts forward lower house speaker candidate
Meanwhile, the centre-right coalition put forward its own candidate for the post of speaker of the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday. Christian Democrat Jan Kasal will face the Social Democrats' Lubomir Zaoralek in the election on Friday. The coalition says Mr Kasal will only pull out of the race if the Social Democrats agree to tolerate the coalition's proposed platform.
Lebanese children to be offered medical care in the Czech Republic
Lebanese children, who are in need of medical care and cannot get it at home because of the ongoing Israeli-Lebanese conflict, may be offered treatment in the Czech Republic. On Wednesday, Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan proposed to increase the budget of the government's Medevac project by ten million crowns (an estimated 445,000 US dollars) to include Lebanon. The project makes it possible for children from war-torn countries to get medical attention in the Czech Republic.
Czech energy network calls off state of emergency
The Czech electricity grid, which suffered an overload on Tuesday, has called off a state of emergency. The network CEPS balances electricity generation with consumption in the Czech Republic and battled its biggest blackout in thirty years. All large companies are still advised to minimise their energy consumption.
Finance Ministry projects economic growth of 6.2 percent
The Finance Ministry expects the country's economy to grow by 6.2 percent this year. Its projection is up from previous estimates of 5.6 percent. The positive projection is based on external trade and an expected increase in household spending and investments. The ministry says economic growth will slow down next year to reach 5 percent.
Czech Railways to offer Pendolino lines to Vienna and Bratislava
The Czech Railway company is planning to buy more Pendolino trains to cover destinations to neighbouring Slovakia and Austria. There are already seven Pendolino trains travelling between Prague and Ostrava and on the Prague-Brno-Breclav line. Seven more are expected to cover the Prague-Bratislava and Prague-Vienna lines as of December. A trip on the Pendolino, known for speed and comfort, is expected to cut travelling time by up to thirty minutes.
The tropical weather is expected to prevail in the coming days with daytime highs of up to 37 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists say scattered thunderstorms on Saturday will help cool temperatures but only temporarily. The tropical heat wave in the Czech Republic is expected to continue into August.