The Czech Republic's football team beat Costa Rica 1:0 in a friendly in Jablonec on Tuesday evening. The only goal of the game was scored by Vratislav Lokvenc in the 82nd minute; Lokvenc had come on as a substitute for Jan Koller, who started his first international since returning from injury. The Czechs' final warm-up before the World Cup is against Trinidad and Tobago in Prague on Saturday; coach Karel Bruckner has promised to field his strongest team for that game.
Compensation for damages suffered during the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 has been paid out to a small minority of claimants, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. A new law last year earmarked over 10 million dollars to compensate those who lost a family member or suffered serious injury or rape during the occupation. However, of almost 400 claimants, just over 50 have been granted compensation by the Interior Ministry. Many of those turned down say it was because they had received a one-off payment in 1990.
The import of cheap eggs from Poland and Lithuania is having a disastrous impact on the egg business in the Czech Republic, the Czech poultry farmers union said on Wednesday. Egg production in this country fell by one fifth in 2005; industry figures say if the current situation continues one half of Czech producers could go out of business next year.
President Vaclav Klaus has made a strong attack on Prime Minister Jiri
Paroubek, accusing him of "one-man rule". Speaking in
Wednesday's Mlada fronta Dnes the president said the extent of Mr
Paroubek's power over both the government and his Social Democratic Party
was unprecedented in the post-revolution era. For his part, Mr Paroubek
said the president had broken his pledge to remain above party politics.
The right-wing Civic Democrats, founded by Mr Klaus, are narrowly in front of the Social Democrats in most polls ahead of general elections this weekend.
A group of students gathered in the Old Town at noon on Tuesday to protest against the sale of St. Michael's Church. The art history students and some of their professors marched from the cultural monument in the city's Old Town district to the ministry of culture and the government headquarters. St. Michael's Church came into private ownership last year but the sale has not been without controversy. Some experts in the cultural sector say the church should have been sold at a higher price; others say the sales contract is not binding and that the church is still the property of the state.
President Vaclav Klaus has said he is seriously concerned about the information submitted by the head of the elite organized crime unit and expects an immediate and unbiased investigation. The President's spokesman said that Mr. Klaus did not want to interfere in such a sensitive case so close to the elections but that immediately after them he would ask to be informed about progress on the case.
President Vaclav Klaus has ordered the release from custody of Jiri Fiala, a candidate for the Party of Common Sense in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Fiala has been charged with attacking a public figure and questioning the independence of the court over a case involving his paternity rights. Fiala has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that he has been denied access to his children. President Klaus said all candidates in the elections should have an equal chance to address voters and asked the authorities to conduct the investigation without keeping Fiala in custody.
The Education Ministry has refused to withdraw a textbook for eighth graders which has been severely criticized by the Church. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk called for its withdrawal earlier this week saying that excerpts from Francois Cavanna's work The Holy Scripture ridiculed the Bible. The ministry said that it saw no reason to withdraw the textbook and pointed out that the Czech Bishops Conference had seen and approved it before its publication. The publishing house Fraus which issued the book said the excerpts are used to illustrate travesty as a literary style.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has rejected charges that top government officials have been hampering the work of the country's elite organized crime unit, saying that the accusations were part of an election smear campaign. Late on Monday Jan Kubice, head of the elite unit for fighting organized crime, told a parliamentary committee that Paroubek and other top officials had hindered his unit's work in order to shield Social Democrat colleagues and that criminals had infiltrated the civil service. Evidence supporting the charges was not made public. The PM called a press briefing in Prague on Tuesday to deny the allegations telling journalists that the opposition Civic Democrats had fabricated the charges to swing voters ahead of the poll.
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