Neither the governing Social Democrats nor the opposition Civic Democrats have a clear position on the possible building of a United States anti-missile site in the Czech Republic, Lidove noviny reported. Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said he knew nothing about the project and would have to learn more about it. By contrast, Poland - the other candidate to host the site - has shown interest in further negotiations with US officials. The New York Times wrote on Monday that Czech parties were trying to avoid debate on the issue because of the upcoming elections.
The Czech international football goalkeeper Petr Cech has passed his maturita school leaving exam. The 24-year-old got a "one" in Czech, English and Social Science and a "two" in German in the exam, which took place at the Sportovni gymnazium in his home town of Plzen. Immediately afterwards he returned to Seefeld in Austria, where he is preparing for the World Cup with the Czech squad.
A cinema in Jirkov, north Bohemia is refusing to show the hit film The Da Vinci Code. Manager Milos Kubelka told the newspaper Deniky Bohemia he was a Christian and said The Da Vinci Code undermined the values this country's democracy was founded on. Both the film and the novel it is based on have been slammed by Roman Catholic groups.
A bill aimed at increasing state support for the Czech film industry has been thrown out. The Chamber of Deputies had previously approved it, but on Tuesday failed to overturn a veto by President Vaclav Klaus. Under the bill cinemas, TV stations and video and DVD distributors would have had to contribute three percent of their sales to the state cinematography fund. The Czech Republic's stand at the Cannes film festival closed on Wednesday in protest at the bill's failure.
A group of anti-communists including former president Vaclav Havel have called on Czechs to go to the polls in ten days' time. They say many people who did not vote in the 2002 elections would have voted for somebody other than the Communists, and an increased turnout could mean fewer seats for the party, who are currently third in the opinion polls. Mr Havel and a number of other personalities will appear in a series of photographs with their heads wrapped in barbed wire.
Meanwhile, the director of the German film Good Bye Lenin! says he does not understand why the right-wing Civic Democrats have used the movie in their election campaign. Wolfgang Becker said in a statement that the party's PR people could only regard the comedy as a warning against the dangers of communism if they were in a coma when they watched it.
A new scientific project is to recognise the role of ethnic Germans who remained loyal to Czechoslovakia, participated in the anti-Nazi resistance movement, and aided in the restoration of Czechoslovak statehood, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said on Tuesday. The three-year project, for which the government has earmarked 30 million crowns, will be overseen by the Czech Academy of Sciences' Modern History Institute, in cooperation with the National Archives and the Museum of Usti nad Labem in northern Bohemia. Modern History Institute director, Oldrich Tuma, believes some 100 people, who are still alive today, could gain recognition through the project.
Social Democrat and Communist deputies also joined forces on Tuesday to override a presidential veto of a bill on non-profit hospitals. The bill, part of health minister David Rath's extensive reform of the health sector, is opposed by thousands of health workers, who say it is part of a plan to nationalise hospitals. In a desperate attempt to persuade deputies not to vote for the bill, representatives of smaller hospitals forwarded a petition with 230,000 signatures to lower house deputies before the vote was held. The influential Trade Union of Physicians, on the other hand, supports the law, saying it will guarantee affordable hospital care to all.
The Czech football star Tomas Rosicky has signed a long-term contract with one of Europe's biggest clubs, Arsenal. The midfielder moves to the English Premier League after five years with Germany's Borussia Dortmund. It had appeared that he would join Atletico Madrid, but the deal fell through after the Spanish club were late with a down-payment. Rosicky, who is 25, has scored 15 goals in 53 appearances for the Czech Republic, and is set to be one of the team's key players at the forthcoming World Cup.
Growing concern over plight of leading Chinese investor in the Czech Republic
President Zeman’s Chinese advisor arrested
Controversial Russian gas pipeline makes Czech progress
Jan Masaryk’s mysterious death – a “last nail” in the coffin of democracy in 1948
Czech average monthly wages pass 30,000 crown mark for first time