The Czech Republic ranks thirteenth among European countries for the most web pages devoted to travel and tourism. The data was released Friday by Internet Security Systems, which ranked the country 21st overall in the world. According to ISS, the number of websites devoted to selling vacation packages has risen by over a quarter in the last year, with 60% of all such sites registering in the United States. The company Forrester Research notes that 1/3rd of Euros that Europeans spend on-line go towards the purchase of tourism packages.
Prime Minister designate, Mirek Topolanek, says that he is not expecting
the Christian Democrats and the Green Party to support a Civic Democratic
minority government in a vote of confidence in the lower house. Mr.
Topolanek made the statement in an interview for the daily Hospodarske
Noviny, clarifying that there must be a basic agreement between the two
largest parties—the Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats—in order for
any government to work. However, Mr. Topolanek also says that he also
hopes to cooperate with the smaller parties—the Christian Democrats and
the Greens—throughout his government's mandate.
Following June's elections which left the lower house split 100:100 for left vs. right parties, Mr. Topolanek's Civic Democrats worked on a coalition deal with the Christian Democrats and the Greens, but were still left with one vote short of a majority in the lower house.
Mr. Topolanek is currently in the process of forming a minority government. The current government's ministers will stay in their posts until a new cabinet is formed. As it stands, the country also has two prime ministers, with Jiri Paroubek standing as the acting prime minister until Mirek Topolanek forms a new cabinet.
Nicole Vaidisova has pulled out of her quarterfinal match against
Australian Nicole Pratt in Montreal because of pain in her right
shoulder. The rising 17 year-old Czech tennis star says that she
decided to withdraw from the Rogers Cup and favor rehabilitation for
her shoulder ahead of the US Open in New York. It is the second time
this year that Ms. Vaidisova has been bothered by her right shoulder,
but she expects to be in good shape for the US Open.
Meanwhile, Czech-born American tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, continues her successful run in women's doubles in Montreal. Navratilova and her Russian doubles partner, Nadia Petrova, secured a spot in the quarter-finals with a 7:6, 6:1 victory over Gisela Dulko and Corina Morariu late on Thursday.
On a visit to Washington, D.C., Czech representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs and defense have learned that a US anti-missile base which may be housed on Czech territory (or in Poland) would serve to protect all of Europe from missile attack. Members of the Czech delegation expressed surprise at the news relayed by American military experts. The United States is expected to announce its central European locations of preference for radar and missile defense systems sometime in the coming months, perhaps as soon as September.
Jan Spata, one of the Czech Republic's leading documentary film makers, has died; he was 73. Born on 25 October 1932 in Nachod, Mr. Spata studied at FAMU and also earned his credentials as a cameraman in films made by other Czech directors such as Helena Trestikova and Jiri Papousek. His own career as a director began in the mid-1960s and he made over 100 films, becoming a mentor to many younger film-makers and earning over 60 awards at festivals at home and abroad. Jan Spata's last work appeared in 1998—a two part autobiographical piece, "Laska, kterou opoustim" or 'The love I'm leaving behind.' Jan Spata passed away in Prague on Friday morning after a serious illness.
A Czech Roma woman, Elena Gorolova, has made her case of sterilization public at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Ms. Gorolova underwent a sterilization procedure in Vitkovice's hospital in 1990 after giving birth to her second child. She testified that while still under the influence of a sedative, doctors told her further pregnancies could threaten her life, and thus she signed the papers allowing sterilization. Ms. Gorolova told the U.N. Committee Against the Discrimination of Women that she wasn't properly informed of her rights, and that she believes the sterilization procedure was recommended because she is Roma. Ms. Gorolova's case is not the first of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Czech amateur astronomer Kamil Hornoch - who has discovered forty-one "new" stars in the Great Andromeda Galaxy - has been named amateur astronomer of the year at the IAU (International Astronomical Union) meeting in Prague. Mr Hornoch is the first astronomer from Central and Eastern Europe to have received the prize since it was first introduced in 1979. The thirty-three year old uses a CCD camera on his backyard telescope in Lelekovice near Brno, south Moravia, to search for undiscovered stars. Upon receiving the prize he said the universe was "his love" and that receiving the prize was a "great honour".
Following help from the public, police have caught two men who escaped from the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital earlier this week. Twenty-five-year old Jan Burian, guilty of murdering and sexually accosting an elderly lady in 1998 ,and seventeen-year-old David Simacek, guilty of a number of attempted rapes, escaped from the hospital on Tuesday by climbing over a fence. Their escape was witnessed by a hospital employee, who was unable to intervene. After their disappearance, police asked the public to be vigilant. The patients were spotted in Nove Butovice, a district of Prague, early on Thursday morning and arrested.
The Foreign Ministry has revealed to the CTK news agency that three Czech nationals have been remanded in Brazil for alleged drug trafficking. They were arrested in July; if found guilty they could face stiff prison sentences. The Foreign Ministry has stressed that more and more individuals from the former communist bloc are being recruited by the narcotics mafia for smuggling drugs to Europe. The ministry has urged travellers by no means to accept responsibility for any strangers' luggage or packages.
A former police officer has been charged for trying to allegedly bribe newly-elected Social Democrat MP Pavel Ploc shortly after June's national election. According to reports, the accused - 42-year-old Pavel Srytr, a former schoolmate of Mr Ploc's - approached the newly-elected MP, asking him to switch parties for five million crowns (the equivalent of around 230,000 US dollars). A switch from the Social Democrats to the Greens that was allegedly suggested, would have given the centre-right a slim majority in the currently deadlocked parliament. Mr Srytr - a former police officer who later worked as a driver and bodyguard for murdered businessman and suspected underworld figure Frantisek Mrazek - has not denied meeting with Mr Ploc, but he has denied the bribery charge.