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.
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.
Four people have been detained by police for allegedly producing and selling counterfeit tickets for pop singer Madonna's upcoming appearances in the Czech capital. Madonna is due to perform in Prague on September 6th and 7th, her first ever stage appearance in the Czech Republic. The four people arrested Wednesday - believed to be members of an organised gang - are thought to have produced some three hundred counterfeit tickets, selling either on the street or over the Internet. In home searches police seized fake tickets, counterfeiting equipment, illegally-owned firearms, and around 500,000 crowns in cash (the equivalent of almost 23,000 US dollars). Police now also have evidence that the gang allegedly also produced fake tickets for a recent Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.
A court has ruled that the former chairman of the Communist Party, Miroslav Grebenicek, must apologise to activist Jan Sinagl, whom he publicly insulted during a May Day rally in 2005. Mr Sinagl was protesting on the spot the Communist Party's traditional gathering: to this day many observers see the party as both unreformed and unapologetic for its past in Czechoslovakia. In the incident in 2005, Mr Grebenicek publicly called Mr Sinagl "a primitive" - a statement that the court on Thursday found encroached on the activist's rights. Following the ruling, Mr Grebenicek will have to cover all costs of the trial, as well as take out ads in two national newspapers to issue his apology.
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