The 6th Annual Czech-Slovak Rockfest USA music festival has started in Yorkville, Illinois. During the weekend, visitors from all around the United States will be able to see the Czech and Slovak singers and musicians Michal David, Michal Prokop, Lubos Andrst, Jan Hruby and the bands Horkyze Slize, Vidiek, Stari psi, Voiceband and also three US-based bands: Doggybag, the C.I.A. from Chicago and the Slovak-American band from Minnesota Five Ounces. The popular Czech band Kabat refused to appear at Rockfest after the wife of one of the musicians was not granted a US visa.
Jiri Vyvadil, a judge of the Supreme Administrative Court, is to become
the deputy justice minister as of the beginning of September, Prime
Minister Jiri Paroubek said through his spokeswoman on Saturday. The Prime
Minister was reacting to speculation in Saturday's edition of the daily
Pravo which said Mr Vyvadil was going to replace the Supreme State
Attorney Marie Benesova.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Pavel Nemec called on Ms Benesova to resign over their dispute over the extradition of the Qatari Prince Hamid bin Abdul Sani, who was sentenced for sex with underage girls in the Czech Republic, but Ms Benesova refused to do so. On Monday the Supreme Court complied with an earlier request by Justice Minister Pavel Nemec allowing Mr Sani to be tried at home, which the Supreme State Attorney Marie Benesova had sharply criticised.
Saturday's edition of the daily Pravo writes that an agency recruiting Czech men to work as security guards in Iraq is run by a man sentenced for fraud. The agency based in the town of Otrokovice in South Moravia promises the men to be paid 80 dollars per hour in Iraq but charges fees for mediation and training. According to the daily the Czech Embassy in Baghdad has no information about a Czech security agency operating in Iraq and the daily adds that the man behind the recruiting agency, Vladimir Hunek, was sentenced for fraud earlier this year. At present, there are some 30 mercenaries of Czech origin in Iraq working for foreign agencies. They are mostly former soldiers from special units or the French Foreign Legion.
A recent poll by the SC&C polling agency suggests that around 77 percent Czechs believe President Vaclav Klaus is doing well in his office, while some 19 percent have a fairly negative view of his performance and 4 percent view him negatively. When the respondents were asked to assess the president's concrete steps, Mr Klaus received an average rating, the poll found. He was given a positive rating for his performance in domestic politics, representation abroad, relationship to the public, defence of the Czech Republic in Europe and granting of pardons and awarding honours.
In related news, a representative of the country's Green Party called the Interior Ministry's bill "unconstitutional" on Friday, because it excludes raves from other apolitical gatherings and lists special conditions under which permission for such events can be obtained. The Green Party has said it is preparing its own proposal it would like to present to the government.
A legal team from the right-of-centre, opposition Civic Democrats is planning to put forward a constitutional complaint regarding the recent case of a Qatari royal extradited from Prague to Qatar. Qatari prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani was found guilty of having sex with underage girls in the Czech Republic and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. But, following a Supreme Court ruling backing a decision by the Justice Minister allowing extradition, Mr Sani was released and returned to Qatar earlier this week, to face prosecution at home. Civic Democrat Jiri Pospisil has made clear he would like the Constitutional Court to investigate sections in the penal code, compared with the Charter of Fundamental Freedoms and Rights.
Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has told journalists that if a rave was
held now in the Czech Republic and the law was being broken, police would
step in again. Mr Bublan made the statement while visiting the Tachov
region on Friday, the site of a controversial rave attended by some 4,000
July, an event broken up forcibly by police. On July 29th, concluding that
property was being damaged, 1,000 officers in riot gear brought the rave,
known as CzechTek, to an end using tear gas and water cannons. Dozens of
those in attendance, as well as officers, suffered minor injuries.
On Friday, the interior minister met with local majors and other officials in the Tachov region, saying he will propose new legislation in September regarding rave events. The new bill, he said, will require organisers to submit a list of conditions for approval, with municipalities reserving the right to ban. The Interior Minister indicated he would like the bill to come into law as early as possible, next spring.
Czech football star Pavel Nedved has ruled out any chance of returning to the Czech national side. Team coach Karel Bruckner confirmed this week that the former team captain's decision was final. Although Nedved retired officially from the national side last year, recent weeks had brought speculation he might rejoin the squad for final qualification for the World Cup in Germany. Nedved, a key player for Italy's Juventus Turin, tallied a total of 83 caps for the national squad, with a total of 17 goals. His final game came in last year's European championships' semi-final, where the Czechs were beaten by Greece.
Both Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy, Martin Jahn, have welcomed a boost in the Czech Republic's foreign currency rating from 'A-minus' to 'A' by the international agency Fitch Ratings. Finance Minister Sobotka said the upgrade reflected what he called the 'excellent situation' in the Czech economy and improvement in public budgets, while Martin Jahn called it 'further proof' the Czech economy was at its strongest in ten years. The higher rating should attract new foreign investment.
An ultralite plane crashed in Prague's Letnany district on Friday, killing both passengers, a father and son. According to reports the plane crashed when landing within the perimeter of an aviation club in Letnany on the outskirts of the capital. The cause of the accident is not yet known. According to investigators at the scene the pilot likely made a mistake when trying to land. A helicopter and an ambulance car arrived immediately at the scene but both passengers were already dead. Two teams of firefighters have been trying to remove the bodies from the plane.
Collapse of Prague footbridge raises concerns regarding state of other bridges
Some like it hot: Czech Republic sees rise in number of household saunas
ANO leader Andrej Babiš appointed Czech prime minister
Czech wage rises continue apace, low earners seeing larger increases
Czech protesters run out of patience as Prague brutalist building faces demolition