The Prague City Court has ruled that St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and not the state, upholding an earlier verdict by a Prague district court. The Church and the state have been fighting over ownership rights for over thirteen years. A 1954 government resolution gave Prague Castle the authority to manage the cathedral and surrounding property but the court decided that the transfer of management did not automatically imply a transfer of ownership. The state plans to appeal at the Supreme Court.
Five people were killed in a traffic accident on Friday afternoon when two passenger cars collided head-on near the town of Breclav, South Moravia. Fire fighters and a helicopter were called to the scene of the accident. Only one passenger, a woman from Slovakia, survived the crash and was rushed to hospital.
Civic Democrat chairman Mirek Topolanek has said he is going to meet the outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek by Sunday. Speaking after a meeting on Friday with the leaders of a possible government coalition Mr Toplanek said that negotiators from both his Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats, which are the second biggest party in the lower house now, would meet next week. The emerging government coalition wants to seek the Social Democrats' support since it does not have a majority in the lower house. However, the Social Democrats say that they will not support a centre-right government.
The BBC World Service will consider taking legal steps against the decision by the Czech broadcasting council which ruled this week that the BBC had broken license regulations by sharing its local frequency with a Czech Radio news station. The former editor-in-chief of the BBC's Czech Section and now a representative of the licence holder, Radiocom, Vit Kolar, said on Friday that at the moment the London headquarters is considering three options, one of them being legal action. The BBC Czech Service was discontinued earlier this year and the BBC now faces the threat of losing the FM license for its English-language broadcasts in the Czech Republic.
Three Czech centre-right parties have agreed how they will divide seats in a cabinet they are forming after an election earlier this month, though they have offered no clues on how they will secure a majority in parliament. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats won the election but together with their partners, the centrist Christian Democrats and the Greens, they control only 100 seats in the 200-seat lower house. Civic Democrat chief Mirek Topolanek said on Friday after negotiations between the three parties that the Civic Democrats would take nine seats in the new cabinet, while the smaller parties would have three each. The party leaders reiterated that they expected to sign a coalition agreement ahead of the first session of the newly elected parliament due on June 27.
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.
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.
Martin Nekola: Czech Chicago and other untold stories of Czechs abroad
Czech President Zeman addresses Council of Europe
Czech Republic faces court action over freedom of movement
Czech pre-election battle plugs into war of words over lithium mining deal
How should socialist architecture be treated now?