The Czech government will not interfere in a decision to keep the remains of German WWII soldiers stored in a factory in the northern town of Usti nad Labem, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said on Saturday. The bodies of the Wehrmacht soldiers were exhumed from various graves around the country to be buried at a special cemetery in Prague. The organisers of the project ran out of money, and the remains were stored at the factory instead, where they have been for the last three years.
Students in Belarus, who are thrown out of their universities for taking part in demonstrations against their President Alexander Lukashenko could be allowed to continue their studies in the Czech Republic. The Czech government is to discuss this possibility at its session on Wednesday. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek also plans to discuss the study stays with education minister Petra Buzkova. Massive protest demonstrations are being held in the Belarusian capital Minsk after Mr Lukashenko gained another term in a presidential election last weekend, which is widely believed to have been rigged.
Former Czech President and human rights advocate Vaclav Havel has
spoken out against the United States' strict visa policy towards the
Czech Republic. Mr Havel said the USA was being pedantic and to some
extent absurd. Millions of Mexicans cross the border with bags of
cocaine and heroin, but the authorities are worried about the Czech
student staying too long, Mr Havel told the CTK news agency.
But unlike foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, Mr Havel believes reciprocal measures against US citizens are not necessary. Instead, Czechs should get the word out by openly talking about it, joking about it, and writing about it in papers, such as the New York Times, Mr Havel suggests.
A replica of a medieval crane that used to be powered by men running inside two large wheels is to be erected at Prague Castle. The crane will be part of an accompanying programme to the Charles IV exhibition that is currently underway. It will be constructed according to images from the famous Wenceslas Bible and similar cranes preserved in the Czech Republic and abroad.
The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats have strongly criticised Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek for failing to defend Czech interests at the EU summit in Brussels on Friday. The Czech Republic has backed down from its earlier demand for a stronger directive on the liberalisation of trade in services. The move was criticised at the Civic Democrats' Executive Council meeting in Karlovy Vary. The rival Social Democrats were also scorned for the large number of corruption scandals around the party, a lost arbitration case that could cost the state billions of crowns, and unrest in the health sector.
A Prague City court has refused to reveal whether an arrest warrant will be issued for entrepreneur Libuse Barkova - a personal friend of former prime minister Stanislav Gross and his wife Sarka. Mrs Barkova - facing a new trial for insurance fraud - recently raised fears that she might elude justice after travelling to the Dominican Republic. She has since returned to Prague and her lawyer presented Mrs Barkova's passport to the court earlier this week, as well as issued a faxed promise by the defendant that she would not try and leave the country. In the past, a number of suspect business figures managed to escape abroad to avoid arrest in the Czech Republic - the most recent being Radovan Krejcir - a former Czech citizen now residing in the Seychelles.
Czech politician and writer Jaroslava Moserova has died at the age of 76. She lost her battle with cancer on Thursday. The former senator had an extraordinary career, known for literary translations of novels by author Dick Francis. Mrs Moserova was also a burns specialist who was the first doctor to treat Jan Palach after the student immolated himself in protest of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
According to the Czech commercial radio station Radio Impuls American pop icon Madonna is planning on performing in Prague in September. On Friday the station claimed the singer will take to the stage for two performances in Prague's Sazka arena come September 5th and 6th - as part of her 'Confessions on a Dance Floor' tour. Sazka itself has not confirmed any of the dates or information. If the dates are confirmed it will be the first time most Czech fans will be able to see Madonna in a live performance; the singer has never before played the Czech capital.
A district court in the Moravian town of Olomouc has adjourned - indefinitely - a case in which the German order of Teutonic Knights has disputed the ownership rights of Moravia's Bouzov Castle. The German plaintiff has called for a return of the Czech state property confiscated in 1948 - but state representatives have argued that the order no longer has claim to the property. The district court ruled on Friday that both sides in the dispute have until next Wednesday to hand in final proposal statements. Bouzov Castle - first mentioned in records dating back to the 14th century - is one of the best known tourist sites in the Olomouc region: it was visited by some 100, 000 people last year.
In related news, former president Vaclav Havel is among those expressing support for Belarusian protestors: in a letter sent to the opposition Mr Havel expressed solidarity and a desire for a democratic and free Belarus. Speaking to journalists in Prague on Friday, Mr Havel said it was necessary to limit all official contacts with the country in order to fully isolate the Lukashenko regime.