Former deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, Miroslav Macek, has received a 3000 crown fine for slapping former Health Minister David Rath at a May conference of dentists. The fine was set by the office of Prague 2, on the basis that Mr. Macek committed a public offence. Mr. Macek says that he will not appeal the decision and will pay the fine. The conflict between the two men came to blows after Mr. Rath made statements alluding to Mr. Macek having married for money. Mr. Rath filed a complaint after the incident, which was broadcast by media across the globe.
A two-year program focusing on female immigrants and organized by the European Contact Group in the Czech Republic (EKS), has won the European Commission's Golden Star 2006 award for the promotion of active European Union citizenship. The project, carried out in 2004-2005, aimed to increase tolerance towards immigrants and improve their integration into society. Over 120 women from 33 countries who now live in Europe took part in the project. Among the participants were women from ethnic minorities, immigrants and asylum seekers. The award will be presented to representatives of Czech EKS at a ceremony in Brussels on September 28.
According to a new poll by the Factum Invenio Agency, the Civic Democratic Party would win elections with 36.3% of the vote if Czechs were to go to the polls in September. Support for the Social Democrats is set at 32%. The results show that the ten percent margin between the two biggest parties recorded in August has been decreased.
King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia has begun a week-long visit to the Czech Republic. The 52 year old monarch, who speaks fluent Czech, is expected to meet with the country's top politicians and cultural figures. He is also scheduled to visit Cesky Krumlov on Wednesday, and plans to see Dagmar Havlova, the wife of former president Vaclav Havel, perform at Prague's Vinohrady Theatre. King Sihamoni will also receive honorary citizenship of Prague where he lived for 13 years, studying ballet at the Prague conservatory.
A shooting spree in the Ostrava region of northern Moravia during the morning hours of Monday has left three people dead. Initial reports say that shares in Havirov Technical Services are at the source of a conflict that resulted in shooting during a meeting of Havirov's municipal council. The former director of Havirov Technical Services, Pavel Sliva, is identified as the gunman who shot the deputy mayor, Martin Balsan, and then turned the gun on himself. About an hour beforehand, Mr. Sliva is reported to have killed the lawyer for Havirov Technical Services, Ivana Kabzanova, shooting her on the street in downtown Ostrava. The incident is under investigation.
Former Social Democratic Minister of Education, Petra Buzkova, has confirmed that she will run for the office of the Mayor of Prague. On Monday representatives of Prague's Social Democrats nominated her as their party's candidate in the upcoming municipal elections. After more than a week of deliberating, Ms. Buzkova has accepted the nomination and says that her experience in the world of high politics would help her fulfill the role of the capital city's mayor. Ms. Buzkova was a long-serving Social Democratic MP who held posts as the Minister of Education, deputy leader of the lower house, deputy leader of the Social Democratic Party, and she also served as the leader of the Prague's Social Democrats. Having recently retired from politics, Ms. Buzkova is currently a partner in a law firm.
The international airport in Brno-Turany opened a new terminal on Monday, roughly one year after construction to expand the airport began. The new terminal, in line with Schengen standards, is capable of processing up to 1000 passengers within an hour. President Vaclav Klaus flew to Brno to open the terminal and was the first to enter the building. Speaking at the opening ceremony, President Klaus said that with the airport facelift, Brno may win the right to host the meeting of 18 presidents from the Central European Initiative which will be held in the Czech Republic in 2008. The Brno airport processed 315 000 travelers last year, and the number is expected to rise to over 400 000 in 2006. Regular links to Munich, Prague and London are based in Brno-Turany, and negotiations over seven additional regular flights to Russia and southern Europe are underway.
A Japanese LCD screen joint venture between Hitachi, Panasonic and Toshiba announced on Monday that it had started construction of a 92-million-euro (116-million-dollar) plant in the Czech Republic, AFP reports. Production at the new plant, at Zatec in northwestern Bohemia, is expected to start in 2007 and create jobs for 2,000 people.
Czech expats from around the world met in the Slovak capital Bratislava over the weekend to establish new contacts and exchange information about the work of expat associations in their home towns. Czechs living in Bratislava organized a cultural evening of poetry, song and dance. The weekend programme in Bratislava marks the start of a Week of Czech Expats held in Prague under the auspices of Czech President Vaclav Klaus.
The new trade and industry minister, Martin Riman, says he wants the new Civic Democrat government to ensure that the planned purchase of over 500 transport trucks for the Czech military from Tatra Koprivnice go ahead as planned. Plans for the sale were allegedly shelved by the former government due to significant cuts in the military budget. Mr. Riman said that he considered it unacceptable for purchases involving foreign companies to receive full-scale funding while domestic-oriented ones, which were important for the country's industry, to be shelved. The Defense Ministry said the purchase had been merely postponed not cancelled but Trade Minister Riman said he would push to find a solution so that the military could confirm the order as soon as possible.