Six smaller centre-right parties have signed an agreement to cooperate and win the local elections in Prague next year. Their aim is to offer Prague voters what they call a "liberal alternative", and their commitment to a pro-European programme that supports lower taxes, the protection of the environment, education and the fight against corruption. The parties involved include the Freedom Union, Green Party, European Democrats, and the Civic Democratic Alliance.
Some 1,200 people have signed a petition asking Parliament to pass a law permitting same-sex registered partnerships. Organised by the Czech League of Gays and Lesbians, it is the second attempt to influence deputies. Last year, the League forwarded Parliament a petition with 4,000 signatures. However, the law was not passed, missing only one vote. Lower house deputies are expected to hold another vote on the issue in the autumn, after their summer break.
Czech Police Chief Jiri Kolar, who will be leaving office next Monday, has
expressed interest in a diplomatic post in Slovakia. Mr Kolar is
considering taking up the post of liaison officer at the Czech Embassy in
Bratislava, which opens as of January 1, 2006. Liaison officers only enjoy
the diplomatic rank during their service abroad. They mainly act as
mediators between the police forces of the Czech Republic and the country
they are serving in, and coordinate joint operations to fight crimes such
as drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, terrorism, or organised
crime. There are only three countries where the Czech Republic has liaison
officers - Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia.
Mr Kolar resigned as President of the Czech Police in June, after a multi-millionaire managed to escape custody.
Slavia Prague have been beaten 2:1 away by Belgium's Anderlecht in the first leg of the final qualifying round for football's Champions League. Slavia - whose only goal came from Karel Jarolim - performed well, and will be hopeful they can overcome Anderlecht in the second leg in Prague in two weeks' time. The Prague club have never reached the Champions League, the most prestigious club competition in world football.
The Czech police say they have arrested a highly dangerous man, who has been hiding from the authorities in the Czech Republic. Refusing to disclose any other information, the spokesman for the Czech police revealed that the man is the head of an international organised crime group, who was sentenced to life for a number of murders.
Czech Olympic champion Roman Sebrle has missed out on a gold medal in the decathlon at the World Athletics Championships in Helsinki. Sebrle finished second behind his biggest rival, Bryan Clay of the USA, after some poor results on the second day of the competition. Fellow Czech and three-time world champion Tomas Dvorak finished in eighth place. Roman Sebrle's silver in the decathlon is the Czech Republic's first medal from Helsinki.
Czech customs officers say they have confiscated twenty tons of potentially cancer-causing nuts from Turkey. A test of random samples found that they far exceeded the set limits of potentially dangerous substances. The delivery was bound for European markets. In 2004 a load of over 120 tons of nuts from China and Iran was confiscated for the same reason. Experts say the high level of carcinogenic substances found in them is due to certain types of mould which are most likely caused by inadequate storage conditions.
An Interior Ministry inspection team has started interrogating the police officers who were recorded beating and kicking young people at the CzechTek music festival at the end of July. All four officers who are suspected of having broken regulations have been suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation which is expected to take several weeks. A parallel investigation is being conducted by the Ombudsman's Office. The government has been severely criticised for its handling of the open air techno party. Over a hundred people were injured on both sides after riot police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse a crowd of around 5,000 participants, on the grounds that they were trespassing on private property.
One fourth of Czechs, mainly women, say they have encountered sexual harassment at the work place. According to the results of a poll conducted by the Czech Academy of Sciences, thirteen percent said they had experienced it personally, fifteen percent said they had seen it going on or had heard colleagues complain about it. Although sexual harassment was qualified as a crime by an amendment to the labor code in 2004, few cases get to court. The poll indicates that the victims of harassment usually resolve the problem by seeking a job elsewhere.