Czech senator Karel Schwarzenberg has been commenting on his expulsion from Cuba on Thursday, in the latest in a series of diplomatic rows between Havana and Prague. Speaking in Paris on his way back to the Czech Republic, Mr Schwarzenberg said his deportation had been quick and had passed without incident. But he added that Cuba's "exaggerated" reaction showed the nervousness of a regime visibly unsure of itself. Senator Schwarzenberg had planned to attend an unprecedented meeting of opponents of the Castro regime.
The Czech Film Centre has presented a project to film Bohumil Hrabal's novel I Served the King of England at its stand at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The film is being made by director Jiri Menzel, best known for the Oscar-winning Closely Observed Trains, which is also based on a Hrabal novel.
The Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, is due to meet his British counterpart Tony Blair in London on Monday, as part of a two-day visit to the United Kingdom. The two leaders are expected to discuss the European Union constitution, further expansion of the EU and the Czech military presence in Iraq. Mr Paroubek will also decorate Czech war veterans at the country's embassy in London.
Rising Czech tennis star Nicole Vaidisova has been beaten in the final of the Istanbul Cup by America's Venus Williams. Vaidisova only turned 16 a month ago but is already Czech women's number one. She was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Williams on Saturday, in a competition regarded as a warm-up for the French Open.
The Foreigners Police in Prague are to extend their opening hours from the beginning of next week, in order to deal with extremely long queues of foreigners applying for residence in the Czech Republic. The Interior Ministry said on Friday that the chaotic situation at the police's office on Prague's Olsanska Street had been due to both a rise in the number of applicants and new regulations which accompanied accession to the European Union.
A delegation from the Czech lower house led by chairman Lubomir Zaoralek has begun a three-day visit to North Korea. The Czech MPs are due to discuss both a possible resumption of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programme and co-operation between their two countries with officials in Pyongyang. Mr Zaoralek is the most senior official from Prague to visit North Korea since the foundation of the Czech Republic.
One of the highlights of this year's Prague Spring classical music festival is taking place on Saturday night, when the legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock appears at the Rudolfinum with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Hancock was a child prodigy who later played with Miles Davis for several years before releasing Headhunters, one of the biggest selling jazz albums of all time.
Both Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and the chairman of the Social
Democratic Party, Stanislav Gross, have denied they might face each
other in an eventual showdown for their party's post of electoral
leader. Speaking together with Mr Gross on Friday the prime minister
said no conflict existed between himself and Mr Gross, who he considers
a personal friend. While he did express an interest in being named his
party's election leader, Mr Paroubek stressed the post could fall to a
number of highly placed Social Democrats, including Culture Minister
Pavel Dostal or Education Minister Petra Buzkova. Both he and Mr Gross
said their party would conduct extensive research & analysis to decide
on the best person for the job.
The Social Democrats, along with the Czech Republic's other political parties, have roughly twelve months in which to prepare for national elections next year.
A 38-year-old woman and her 13-year-old son had to be treated in hospital on Friday after being attacked at their cottage by their pet dog. For unknown reasons the animal, a Staffordshire bull terrier, went wild and attacked its owners, first the boy, and then his mother as she came to help. Both suffered serious injury to their hands. In the end police arriving at the scene were forced to shoot the animal. The incident took place at a cottage colony near Brno.
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