Jan Langos, a former anti-communist dissident who served as Czechoslovak Interior Minister after the fall of communism in 1989 has died in a car accident in eastern Slovakia. Mr. Langos, a Slovak who maintained close ties with the Czech Republic after Czechoslovakia split in January 1993, was instrumental in establishing the Slovak Institute of National Memory in Bratislava - he served as its director since 2003. Mr. Langos was also a key source of support for Czech politicians lobbying for a similar institute in the Czech Republic. Jan Langos was 59.
Outgoing Czech prime minister and Social Democratic Party chairman Jiri
Paroubek is attending a summit of European Socialists in Brussels. Mr.
Paroubek told reporters that he will complain to his European socialist
party colleagues about what he feels was a lack of support from them in
the last days of the Czech election campaign. Mr. Paroubek says that an
"anticommunist hysteria" gripped the Czech Republic just prior
to the elections, and that European socialists could have done more to
help the Social Democrats in the tight election race.
Among those also at the European Socialist Party (ESP) meeting are Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, the new chairman of the German Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, and European Parliament President Josep Borrell. The gathering is taking place on the eve of a European Union summit, and European Socialists are discussing EU enlargement, as well as the planned admission of Romania and Bulgaria.
President Vaclav Klaus will be representing the Czech Republic in Brussels at the EU summit. Before the elections, it was decided that if the Social Democrats lost, President Klaus would attend the summit.
Residents of the Czech capital are becoming avid recyclers. According to the latest statistics, nearly 37 000 tons of glass, plastic, and paper was recycled in Prague last year—that is about 3000 tons more than in the previous year. In 1998 City Hall began introducing communal recycling bins, making it easier for residents to participate in the city-wide effort. Today the bins are located in about 3000 places throughout Prague, and schools and businesses run their own paper recycling programs.
The Czech broadcasting council has ruled that the BBC World Service has broken license regulations by sharing its local frequency with a Czech Radio station. The Council says the BBC acquired the license for the FM frequency on the basis that its broadcasts would contain programmes from its own Czech service. The BBC Czech Service, however, was discontinued earlier this year. The BBC - on the airwaves in this country for over 15 years - will now broadcast in English only and faces the threat of losing its license.
Czech customs officers have arrested a total of seven foreigners
operating in the drug trade near the Czech - German border. Operation
Nightfall involved customs officers from the west Bohemian border
crossings of Rozvadov, Cheb, Sokolov, Teplice, as well as Prague, and
the undercover investigation lasted for over a year. The foreigners—six
Vietnamese nationals and one Albanian—have been charged with illegal
drug manufacturing as well as possession with intent to sell. Nearly
two kilograms of the methamphetamine pervitine was uncovered during the
police raids, and the accused are suspected of selling about 10 000
grams of pervitine for use on the German drug market. If convicted,
they face up to 15 years in jail.
Meanwhile, police in the west Bohemian city of Plzen have arrested a 49 year-old German male for drug trafficking in the downtown core. The man is accused of figuring as a core heroin dealer in Plzen since 2001.
The Czech Republic has established diplomatic ties with the newest state in southeastern Europe. Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia after a national referendum in late May, and became the 45th state in Europe. The Czech Republic acknowledged the independence of Montenegro earlier this week, and diplomatic ties were made formal on Thursday.
Several days of high temperatures in the Czech Republic have claimed
the summer's first victim. A 72 year-old man in the town of Radous,
near the central Bohemian city of Beroun, died Thursday of a heart
attack likely caused by heat exhaustion. The victim was nailing tiles
on the roof of his house when he lost consciousness—ambulance
attendants could not revive him and he was pronounced dead at the
Doctors are warning the elderly and people with respiratory problems to stay indoors, and reminding people that they should drink at least 2.5 liters of water per day.
The current warm and sunny weather is expected to continue throughout the end of the week and into the weekend. Daytime highs will reach 32 degrees Celsius.
The Prague Stock Exchange has experienced one of the worst days in its
history. With the value of shares tumbling, Tuesday saw a major
sell-off - a record 11 billion crowns worth of shares. Since the
beginning of the year, the total value of Czech shares has decreased by
over 20 percent.
Analysts say the current situation has nothing to do with prices of firms and economic indicators but rather an expected rise in interest rates in the United States, leading to the transfer of money across the Atlantic.
The Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Green Party will sign an agreement to form a centre-right government by the end of the month, Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek told reporters on Wednesday. Mr Topolanek says the framework is in place to sign the agreement by the time the new parliament holds its first session, scheduled for June 27. Though Mr Topolanek would not release details of the agreement, all three parties have said that tax reforms have been agreed in principle and would form the basis of the coalition deal. Mr Topolanek says he is confident the Social Democrats will support the new coalition government.
A group of Czech football fans, who were not granted entry into Germany this week, were turned away for security reasons, the German Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Prague had issued a formal complaint to the ministry, after the Czechs said they were turned away by German border police for not having sufficient funds to cover their trip to the neighbouring state. Germany has been bracing itself for the anticipated three million visitors to the Football World Cup, which it is currently hosting, with tight security measures and controls.
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