The Czech Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, on an official visit to Japan,
met with his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi and Japanese
businessmen on Wednesday. Speaking to journalists in Tokyo, Mr Paroubek
said Japanese companies intend to continue investing in the Czech
Republic but do not plan any projects as big as the recent opening of a
Toyota and Peugeot Citroen TCPA production plant in the town of Kolin.
The 153 Japanese investors currently active in the Czech Republic have invested some two billion US dollars and created tens of thousands of new work places. Mr Paroubek also discussed the possible introduction of direct flights between the two countries. Some 150,000 Japanese tourists visited the Czech Republic last year. Before Mr Paroubek leaves for China on Sunday, he is also scheduled to meet Japanese Emperor Akihito.
The Czech Police President, Jiri Kolar, has resigned after Prime Minister
Jiri Paroubek called on him to do so, following a police blunder. Czech
multi-millionaire Radovan Krejcir managed to escape from police custody
last weekend during a search of his house. Mr Krejcir faces charges of
fraud and tax evasion amounting to almost three billion Czech crowns
(around 120 million US dollars) and is also suspected of planning a
murder. Latest reports say he walked out of the main door of his home and
escaped in his car. The head of the police anti-corruption department and
his deputy have also been let go, while ten other police officers have
According to the interior minister, Frantisek Bublan, there is some evidence that Mr Krejcir has fled the country. On Wednesday, a man resembling Radovan Krejcir was caught on a video surveillance tape at a petrol station in neighbouring Slovakia. Both Czech and international warrants for his arrest have been issued.
Elton John entertained over 10,000 fans at Prague's Sazka Arena on Tuesday night. It was the British singer's first concert in the Czech capital since 1984. Accompanied by a five-piece band and a small gospel choir, Sir Elton played many of his biggest hits, including Candle in the Wind and Your Song.
The lower house of the Czech parliament has agreed to introduce a point-system to clamp down on negligent drivers. Drivers gain points for every violation and upon the accumulation of twelve demerit points, the driver's licence is taken away. If approved by the Senate and signed by the president, the point-system takes effect in mid-2006. A similar system was introduced by the Czechoslovak government in 1951 but was abolished two years later.
Czech scientists, on Wednesday, tried to recover a signal from the US-Russian Cosmos 1, the world's first solar sail-powered spacecraft. According to the Russian Space Agency, the spacecraft crashed back to earth when the engine of its booster rocket failed minutes after takeoff from the Barents Sea on Tuesday. But weak signals received by tracking stations in the Pacific Ocean, Russia and the Czech Republic seemed to show it had made it into orbit.
The Constitutional Court has ruled against a lower house approval of an amendment to the conflict-of-interest law. The amendment, which came into effect in March, has been under much criticism mainly because it prohibits councillors from heading regional or district organisations and has thereby forced several to resign from their posts. The amendment also changes local election rules, which according to the Constitutional Court can only be approved by both houses of parliament. Since it made it through parliament only because the lower house overrode the Senate, the court says the amendment has been approved unlawfully.
Slavia Prague football club have protested to UEFA about Liverpool's admission to next season's Champions League; UEFA have allowed Liverpool - who won the trophy last season - to enter the competition, despite not qualifying from the English league. This means Slavia look certain to lose their seeding in the third qualifying round. A spokesman for the Czech club told Sky Sports News that Slavia could now face tougher opposition, such as Manchester United. Slavia, who finished second in the Czech league last season, have never reached the lucrative Champions League.
A pensioner who killed an official at the Nigerian Embassy in Prague two years ago has received an eight-year prison sentence. Jiri Pasovsky lost 15 million Czech crowns (over 600,000 US dollars) in a Nigerian email investment scam. In an effort to retrieve his money the retired doctor set up a meeting at the embassy, during which he pulled out a pistol and shot the consul dead. Mr Pasovsky, who says he has no recollection of the incident, has appealed the verdict.
Plans to film "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in Prague may be abandoned; the father of the boy who plays the main role, Daniel Radcliffe, said he did not want him to be exposed to the Czech capital's wild night life and sex industry, according to reports in the Czech press on Tuesday. Prague has gained a reputation as a centre for cheap prostitution in the United Kingdom in recent years.
Prime Minister Paroubek has secured the support of the Communist Party
for his plans to hold a referendum on the European Union constitution
next June. He needs their support to push a bill on the referendum
through parliament. In meeting the party's leader Miroslav Grebenicek
the prime minister confirmed his policy of talking to all opposition
parties, including the Communists.
The prime minister has just set off on a week-long trip to Japan and China.
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