A court in the Bahamas has refused to release Viktor Kozeny from custody. Mr Kozeny will remain on remand until January 30th, when a hearing begins into whether or not he will face extradition to the United States. The Pirate of Prague, as he is known, is wanted in both the US and the Czech Republic on charges of large-scale fraud.
A quarter of a million visitors are expected to spend Christmas and New
Year in the Czech Republic, a tourism monitoring agency told
Hospodarske noviny. Most tourists are expected to visit Prague, though
the country's health spas will also do good business in the next couple
Meanwhile, around 12,000 Czechs are planning to spend the festive season on exotic beach holidays, while twice that number will go skiing abroad.
Viewing figures for Prima TV have dropped by around a quarter, since its popular reality show Vyvoleni came to an end a week and a half ago, according to figures released on Tuesday. The station is now watched by around 22% percent of viewers, as was the case before Vyvoleni started. Nova is the country's most popular station, with around 40% of the TV audience.
The remains of Czech General Alois Elias, who was prime minister of the Nazi Protectorate but was later executed by the Germans for his work organising the resistance, have been acquired by the Military History Institute. The cabinet is now deciding what to do with his ashes, which were saved by a friend. The defence minister, Karel Kuhnl, has called for a state funeral with military honours for the general and his wife, who also supported the anti-Nazi resistance.
The lower house has passed a bill on public tenders aimed at curbing
corruption and increasing transparency. Under the legislation it would no
longer be possible to "direct" a public tender towards one
company. The bill's authors also hope that announcing tenders on the
internet will lead to a decrease in corruption levels.
Deputies have also voted to strip Civic Democrat Vladimir Dolezal of his immunity. Police accuse Mr Dolezal of acting as a go-between in a bribery affair involving a Prague councillor who is also a member of the Civic Democrats.
Czech MPs have also approved a bill on compulsory purchase of land for projects in the public interest. This should give the state an instrument to speed up construction of major infrastructure projects, such as roads and railways. The bill has to go before the Senate and be signed by the President.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has said that Pope Benedict XVI might visit the Czech Republic in September next year when he is due to travel to his native German state of Bavaria. Cardinal Vlk had invited the Pope during his last month's trip to the Vatican. The Pope's visit was also discussed by President Vaclav Klaus and the Papal Nuncio to the Czech Republic Diego Causero during their meeting on Tuesday.
The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, met senior officials,
including his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.
Plans for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to visit Prague were
one of the main items on the agenda. However, speculation that
President Putin, who has not visited the Czech Republic in his post,
would come to Prague at the beginning of next year was not confirmed.
Minister Svoboda and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov agreed that
relations between the Czech Republic and Russia were good.
On Monday Foreign Minister Svoboda opened a new embassy in the capital of Moldova, Chisenau. Previously, the Czech Embassy in the neighbouring state of Romania was responsible for Czech diplomatic relations in the former Soviet state.
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