Austrian opponents of the Temelin nuclear power plant, which is located in Bohemia some 50 km from the Czech-Austrian border, blocked a border crossing on Sunday. The activists hindered traffic with some ten tractors parked at the Wullowitz-Dolni Dvoriste crossing. Austria is a nuclear-free country, and many of its citizens oppose the launch of the power plant.
President Vaclav Klaus met with his predecessor Vaclav Havel at Lany Chateau, west of Prague, on Sunday afternoon. The two men and their wives had lunch at the presidential retreat to celebrate Vaclav Havel's birthday; he turned 70 on Thursday. Mr Havel received a replica of an office desk that once belonged to Czechoslovakia's first President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk.
The 116th Velka Pardubicka Grand Steeplechase, the biggest event in Czech horseracing, was won by 11 year-old Decent Fellow, who was ridden by jockey Josef Bartos on Sunday. Decent Fellow has won second and third place twice in past Velka Pardubicka races. Last year's winner, Maskul, did not finish the race.
An obelisk in memory of the joint past of the Czechs, Poles, and Germans has been unveiled in the villages of Kopacov and Oldrichov. The villages now lie on either side of the Czech-Polish border but used to be united. After the Second World War its entire German population was expelled. The obelisk is also a symbol of the three countries' cooperation today.
The Prague Mayor and deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Party, Pavel Bem, says current Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek would not hold onto the post if his party were given a second chance to form a new government. Mr Topolanek's cabinet is expected to resign on Wednesday after it failed to win a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament last week. In a televised debate Mr Bem, who is strongly in favour of early elections, said the next government proposed by the Civic Democrats would be a caretaker government. He added that there are at least three independent experts who his party sees fit to hold the post of prime minister.
Czech-born tennis star Martina Navratilova will be opening an exhibition named Art Grand Slam in Prague next week. The project, initiated by Slovak artist Juraj Kralik, combines tennis and art and will be on show at Prague's Congress Centre. Mr Kralik paints pictures onto which Martina Navratilova then creates patterns by hitting them with paint-covered tennis balls.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel opens the Forum 2000 international conference in Prague on Sunday evening. The conference, the first of which was held ten years ago, continues until Tuesday and focuses on the dilemmas of global coexistence. Among the over three dozen speakers at this year's event are Belarusian opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich, HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal, and Nobel Peace Prize holders the Dalai Lama and US author Elie Wiesel.
An opinion poll commissioned by Pravo newspaper suggests that 53 percent of the Czech population would like President Vaclav Klaus to entrust an independent expert with the forming of a new government. The poll, conducted by the STEM agency, also says 38 percent of the population would like to see former Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek given the chance to form a government, while only 30 percent opted for current Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.
Police say a leading member of the Russian Mafia, who was deported from the Czech Republic in the 1990s is back in Prague. The owner of a Prague restaurant was found during a police raid. Anatolij Katric has been asked to leave the country, Czech Television reported on Saturday. The spokesperson for the Czech Police organised crime unit says it has yet to be determined how Mr Katric got into the country.
The Communist Party has set three conditions under which it would support
a new proposed government. It would have to guarantee better living
standards, halt plans to control the budget deficit with the privatisation
of the power utility CEZ or any other such institution, and uphold the
sovereignty of the state, which they say could be threatened by the
presence of foreign bases on Czech territory or too much participation in
On Tuesday, the first attempt at forming a new government after the June elections failed as the minority Civic Democrat cabinet of Mirek Topolanek lacked enough votes to win a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament. The Communists and the country's governors have warmed up to the idea of a caretaker government of independent experts that would lead the country into early elections while former prime minister Jiri Paroubek would like to form a minority government of his Social Democrats, who won the second most votes in June.