The archbishop of Prague has launched an attack on the American superstar singer Madonna, days before her "Confessions" world tour appearances in Prague, including a controversial mock crucifixion scene. Speaking of the singer as "the so-called Madonna", Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said in a statement of Friday that such megashows were absolutely unacceptable for Christians because they offended the religious sensibilities of believers. Cardinal Vlk also said that it was "scandalous" that "millions were earned thanks to a contempt for the Christian religion," and that in the future nobody would remember who the singer Madonna was, "but the true Madonna (Virgin Mary) will continue to be venerated." Madonna is due to perform in Prague on September 6 and 7 with tickets for her appearances sold out within two hours of going on sale.
President Vaclav Klaus has said he will appoint the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Monday. Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek met President Klaus on Friday at Prague Castle, and presented to him a list of the members of his minority government. The new cabinet is to have 15 ministers, 9 of them members of the Civic Democratic Party and 6 unaffiliated, and prepare the country for early elections. Owing to an even split between the leftist and rightist parties in the lower house after June's national elections, it is expected to have difficulties receiving a vote of confidence from the chamber. The vote is expected to take place on October 4th.
Congolese defensive midfielder Ilongo Ngasanya has joined Czech league leaders Mlada Boleslav on loan until the end of the year. The 22-year-old had struggled to hold down a first team place at Lokomotiv Moscow and had been on loan at another Russian side, Nalchik. Mlada Boleslav's sporting director Zdenek Kudela said the team's aim was to improve its the quality and attractiveness.
According to preliminary police statistics, August saw the lowest number of fatal traffic accidents on Czech roads in the last 36 years. The total number of road accidents decreased as well. In both July and August, 2006, 72 people died on Czech roads, that is 48 and 30 percent fewer than last year, respectively. The number of injuries has also dropped compared to previous years. According to the police and experts, the situation is a result of new traffic regulations which came into force last month and introduced tougher punishments for driving offences.
President Klaus has also met the members of the outgoing centre-left coalition cabinet and thanked them for their work. He said that although he did not always agree with the decisions of the government of Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, the relations were always correct. The outgoing cabinet was appointed in April 2005 after Prime Minister Stanislav Gross stepped down following a financial scandal.
August 31st marks the 70th anniversary of Czechoslovak Radio's first regular broadcasts on shortwave from Czechoslovakia. The first in 1936 took place on a Monday. Seventy years later, the foreign broadcast departments at Czech Radio operate as Czech Radio 7 - Radio Prague. The station broadcasts in six languages on shortwave, via the internet, and on satellite. At a press conference on the occasion of the anniversary, Radio Prague's director Miroslav Krupicka pointed out that the station's strengths were based on both quality reporting from the Czech Republic, as well as on technological innovations such as pod-casting. Listeners from Europe and the US were also able to recently attend a special event in Prague marking the anniversary.
The Austrian police have detained two arms traffickers from Vienna and Lower Austria who allegedly acquired an arsenal of weapons in the Czech Republic. The APA Austrian news agency issued the report. Detectives had been monitoring the suspects for some time, even wiretapping phone calls. During a property search, police reportedly uncovered almost thirty firearms, two gas pistols and some 13,500 rounds of ammunition. According to police, both detained men probably planned to sell the weapons illegally in Austria.
Actor and journalist Martin Stepanek is likely to be the country's next
culture minister, in the new government being formed by Prime Minister
designate Mirek Topolanek. Mr Stepanek told journalists that he met the
prime minister designate on Thursday and had accepted Mr Topolanek's
offer. Originally, Mr Topolanek offered the post of culture minister in
his cabinet to Czech general consul in Los Angeles, Margita Fuchsova,
but she turned down the post. The prime minister designate intends to
submit a list of ministers in his cabinet to President Vaclav Klaus on
Mr Stepanek, who is 59, and worked extensively for Radio Free Europe in the past, said he viewed the proposal as an honour.
A court in the eastern region of Olomouc has handed twenty-three-year
old Martin Jas a three year sentence for his part in a brutal attack on
Romany couple in their home three years ago. He and two others - who were sentenced in June - tore into the couple's home under the pretence they were police officers, cutting the man, and hitting his wife, who was pregnant at the time, with a thrown cobble-stone. The court heard that she suffered permanent damage to her eyesight as a result. Zdena Polakova, representing the couple, indicated she is far from satisfied with Thursday's ruling, calling it the lightest possible sentence for such a crime.
In June, Mr Jas' accomplices received their sentences: one, a three-year suspended sentence, the other, three years and three months in prison.
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