While the government's decision was welcomed by Sudeten German organisations on Wednesday, it was criticised by President Vaclav Klaus who said the cabinet's step was an erroneous, unnecessary and empty gesture which may harm the Czech Republic. Mr Klaus said that the sensitive historic chapter had been resolved and closed by the Czech-German Declaration, agreed on by the Czech and German governments in 1997. President Klaus also complained that the government and the Foreign Ministry had not consulted him on the statement.
Prince Hamid bin Abdul Sani, a member of Qatar's royal family, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a Czech court for sexual abuse of underage girls, was extradited to Qatar and remanded in custody upon arrival on Tuesday night. The Czech Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Abdul Sani could be extradited to face criminal prosecution in Qatar. The court ruling, which is believed to have set an important precedent, complied with an earlier request by Justice Minister Pavel Nemec for Mr Sani to be tried in his homeland. The office of the Qatari supreme state attorney had guaranteed that criminal proceedings would start immediately after Mr Sani's return to Qatar.
The government has agreed to acknowledge the merits of former Czechoslovak
citizens of German nationality who actively stood against Nazism and
remained loyal to the country during the Second World War. The government
also expressed regrets over the wrongs they suffered in post war
Czechoslovakia and apologised for the injustice done to them by the
Communist regime. The proposal of a conciliatory gesture was first put
forward by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek last month.
After World War II, some 200,000 Germans stayed in the then Czechoslovakia, while another 2.5 million ethnic Germans were deported from the country on the basis of the post-war Benes decrees and their property was confiscated. The Germans allowed to stay in Czechoslovakia lost their property, too, and were stripped of Czechoslovak citizenship which was returned to them only after 1953.
Acclaimed Czech director Milos Forman is to direct a film about Spanish grand master Francisco de Goya starring Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman, focusing on one of Spain's most bloody chapters, the Inquisition, the Reuters agency wrote on Wednesday. Called "Goya's Ghosts" the film tells the story of the last years of the Spanish Inquisition, when the Catholic Church tortured and executed suspected Jews, as told by the painter, played by Stellan Skarsgard. The film is Forman's first directing project since 1999's "Man on the Moon" and filming is due to start in September.
Over 14,000 Czechs and 24,000 Slovaks have registered for work in the United Kingdom since May 1, 2004 when the Czech Republic and Slovakia joined the European Union along with eight other countries. According to the latest UK statistics, over 230,000 workers from the new member states have registered in the UK since last May; more than 50 percent of them Poles.
Four Czechs, one of them a young boy, were killed when their light aircraft crashed in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday night. Police in the Swiss canton of Valais said that all the occupants of the single engine plane were found dead in the wreckage of the Czech registered aircraft, shortly after it crashed near the Simplon mountain pass. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani, a member of Qatar's royal family, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a Czech court for sexual abuse of underage girls, was released from custody late on Monday and has now left the Czech Republic. The Czech Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Abdal Sani could be extradited to face criminal prosecution in Qatar. The court ruling, which is believed to have set an important precedent, complied with an earlier request by Justice Minister Pavel Nemec for Mr Sani to be tried in his homeland.
Czech politicians are trying to reach consensus on a framework for pension reform. The Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach said there was now agreement across the political spectrum on the need to gradually raise the retirement age for both men and women. However many key issues remain highly controversial. The Social Democrats are in favour of introducing individual pension accounts. Their coalition partners the Christian Democrats propose that people send part of their obligatory pension payments to pension funds, the opposition Civic Democrats are in favour of a low state pension supplemented by private savings while the Communists are in favour of maintaining the pay-as-you-go system.
Czech international footballer Milan Baros will remain in the English Premiership after his side, FC Liverpool, agreed to sell the striker to Aston Villa for a reported 6.5 million pounds. The 24-year-old is believed to have agreed to the terms and faces a medical Tuesday. The move to Aston Villa, where Baros will play with fellow Czech Patrik Berger, comes after weeks of speculation over the striker's future. Last year Baros was Liverpool's joint-top scorer, but faced tough competition this year among fellow Liverpool players.
The charges of damaging private property levelled against the organizer of an open air techno party Vaclav Sroub have been withdrawn. The state attorney returned the case to the police for further investigation, saying that the evidence collected against Sroub did not indicate that he was in any way responsible for damage to private property. The charges were made in the wake of the July techno party CzechTek which was broken up by the police on the grounds that the participants were trespassing on private land. The police have estimated the damage at around 300,000 crowns.
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