The civic organisation Czech Autoclub has reported that 22 children died in Czech road accidents in the first half of 2005. The number of infant fatalities is a marked increase - up by 14 during the same period last year. The fatalities involved children between the ages of six and fourteen. Most of the children were passengers - almost half of those killed were either not wearing seat belts or were not in protective child car seats.
The government tourist board CzechTourism has revealed the results of a
survey looking at reasons why foreigners visit the Czech Republic:
according to the poll: relaxation and exploration top the list.
According to the board, foreigners come most to visit friends as well
as come on business trips and for sports and cultural events. Last year
8 million foreigners visited the Czech Republic - that number is
expected to grow by 10 percent this year.
CzechTourism's survey polled some 8,000 respondents in Austria, Germany, Poland, and Slovkia, of whom less than one percent said they had never visited the Czech Republic.
The Czech Supreme Court has ruled that Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani, a member of Qatar's royal family, may be extradited to face criminal prosecution in Qatar. On Monday the court complied with an earlier request by Justice Minister Pavel Nemec allowing Mr Sani to be tried at home. Earlier this year, in Prague, Mr Sani was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for the sexual abuse of 16 underage girls. He will now be released from custody. Qatari authorities have begun preparing Mr Sani's prosecution; at home the royal could reportedly even face a life sentence.
A member of the ruling Social Democratic Party's executive committee,
Marian Kus, has been asked by members of the party's Moravian and
Silesian Committee to temporarily give up his post. Mr Kus, listed as a
collaborator with the Communist-era secret police, is under suspicion
of having forged a lustration certificate in order to clear his name.
Prominent Social Democrat leaders like deputy leader Lubomir Zaoralek
have expressed dismay over the charge, saying if proven it would make
it unacceptable for Mr Kus to remain within party ranks.
Mr Kus himself has not responded to the charge, failing to attend a meeting of the regional executive committee on Monday. He sent only a phone text message explaining he was not in the country.
A spokesman for the Luxembourg-based company, EMV, has said his firm has
prepared an arbitration lawsuit against the Czech Republic, blaming the
country for having failed to protect a 45 million dollar investment. EMV
was a financial partner in the now-defunct regional television broadcaster
TV 3. The company has blamed the Czech Republic's Council for Radio &
Television Broadcasting (RRTV) for what it called "unlawful
conduct" in a broadcasting licence dispute that saw the licence
eventually go to a competitor.
EMV's lawsuit is the second case in which a foreign investor has blamed the Czech Republic for failing to protect foreign investment in the media sector. Two years ago an arbitration court awarded the Bermuda-based company CME 10 billion crowns - the equivalent of 354 million US dollars - for losses incurred when the company was cut out of the market-leading private broadcaster TV Nova.
Former president Vaclav Havel is the greatest euro-optimist on the Czech political scene today while his successor Vaclav Klaus is the most euro-sceptic; this according to a poll of public perceptions by the STEM agency. Asked to name a pro-European politician, aside from Havel, respondents named three high-profile Social Democrat party members: former prime minister Stanislav Gross, the current man in the job, Jiri Paroubek, and ex-premier Vladimir Spidla, now a European Commissioner. Apart from Klaus, the poll found that people consider Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek and Communist party head Miroslav Gerbenicek the most euro-sceptic Czech politicians.
Liverpool striker Milan Baros, a Czech national, looks set to join Aston Villa. The English club have reportedly offered him 40,000 pounds a week to play for them. Baros, a top scorer for the Czech national team in the most recent European championships, has rejected offers from Lyon and CSKA Moscow, saying he wanted to remain in the Premiership. Liverpool rejected Aston Villa's 6 million pound bid for Baros. But Aston hope that a 1 million pound add-on --based on performance-- will swing the deal their way.
Former prime minister Milos Zeman's daughter will enrol this September in the private high school of which president Vaclav Klaus' son is the director. Zeman lost to Klaus in the 2003 presidential elections. He said that his daughter Katerina picked the school herself and that, politics aside, he approved of her choice. The daily Pravo notes that besides Milos Zeman, several prominent Social Democrat party members send their children to private schools while pushing for increased spending on public education. They include Education Minister Petra Buzkova and former prime minister Stanislav Gross.
Ceremonies took place throughout the Czech Republic on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops. The invasion 37 years ago marked an end to the democratisation process that came to be known as the Prague Spring. Czech President Vaclav Klaus spent part of the day in Brno, where he spoke at the opening of an exhibition of historic photographs and documents from the period.
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