Director Vaclav Vorlicek is set to direct a sequel to his well-known children's classic "Divka na kosteti" - A Girl on a Broom, dating back to 1971. Then, the lead role of Saxana, a pretty witch, was performed by actress and pop singer Petra Cernocka, who returns in the lead role. Other actors will include Jan Hrusinsky, Jan Kraus, and Petr Narozny. The new film, which has a 65 million crown budget (the equivalent of roughly 3 million US dollars), is to be released in 2008. It has been given the title "Saxana - Veletrh strasidel", or Saxana - The Monsters' Fair.
Members of the Prague public were able to take part in a memorial
ceremony on Saturday marking the sacrifice of student Jan Palach 38
years ago. On January 16th, 1969, the young student, who was twenty
years old, doused himself in gasoline and set himself alight on
Prague's Wenceslas Square. The act was one of protest against the
brutal Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The ceremony on
Saturday took place at the site of Mr Palach's grave at the Olsany
cemetery in Prague.
Also on the day, some 130 people gathered in Mr Palach's home town of Vsetaty, near Prague, to mark his sacrifice and tragic death.
Strong gales continued to hit parts of northern Moravia on Friday, knocking out power, damaging property, and bringing down trees. Fire brigades were sent out repeatedly on Friday afternoon to deal with situations in some places. Teams secured a damaged traffic light, secured downed cables, and cleared fallen trees from railway tracks. Strong winds have hit northern parts of the country since Thursday, with some areas recoding winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour.
In reaction, a number of Civic Democrats including deputy leader Ivan Langer have expressed confidence the government will survive the vote. On Saturday he suggested that there would be more than one Social Democrat MP who would tolerate the new cabinet. Some within the Civic Democratic party have speculated as many as seven rival MPs could tolerate the government as a means of breaking the political deadlock. But, notably most Social Democrats have dismissed such statements, suggesting they were psychological tactics.
Ice hockey goalie Tomas Vokoun has won his second game since returning from injury, earning a 2:0 shut-out for his team the Nashville Predators against Columbus on Friday. Vokoun got a fair amount of help from fellow team mates, who kept Columbus' chances to a minimum, just 22 shots. Vokoun had missed 20 games during his recovery from a hand injury. His first match back, a less impressive performance by the keeper, Nashville edged Anaheim 5:4.
A demonstration by right-wing extremists, planned in the town of Otrokovice near Zlin, eastern Moravia was broken up by police shortly after it began at three pm on Saturday. Police moved in after right-wing extremists clashed with anarchists opposed to the march. The right-wing extremist organisation which organised the event is reportedly some two hundred members strong. On Saturday attendees were monitored by an undisclosed number of police and even a police helicopter. The local town hall had warned citizens in advance of the event; it is not the first time right-wing extremists have chosen Otrokovice as a site.
Social Democrat MP Milos Melcak has indicated he may allow the country's newly-appointed government a chance to win a majority in an upcoming confidence vote. In an interview for the Czech newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes on Saturday, Mr Melcak indicated he was ultimately still undecided but he said it was possible he may leave the chamber during next Friday's confidence vote. That would allow the centre-right government, led by Mirek Topolanek, a chance of earning a majority. In the interview Mr Melcak suggested there were a number of reasons why it would be preferable for his party to go into the opposition, echoing recent statements made by the party's former leader Milos Zeman. MP Melcak told Mlada Fronta Dnes he would prefer negotiations between the three-party coalition and the Social Democrats to continue.
A new report released by Eurostat - the European Union's statistical office - has shown that growth in spending in research and development in the sciences in the Czech Republic was among the fastest in recent years, especially compared to other new EU countries which joined the EU in 2004. According to the report, Czech R&D spending grew by 8.3 percent in the years 2001 to 2005. In 2005, for example, the country invested 1.42 percent of the GDP (the equivalent of around 1.4 billion euros) in the R&D sector, while the amount spent in some other eastern and central European countries was a percentage point less. But, the Czech Republic is still said to lag far behind countries like Sweden, Germany, and Finland when it comes to funding the sciences. More than half the amount spent on science R & D in the Czech Republic comes from private sources, namely private companies.
A police spokeswoman has revealed that an anonymous caller claimed to police on Friday that he had planted a bomb in the home of Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek, warning it would go off on Friday afternoon. According to the information released, the caller had an elderly voice and spoke with a Slovak accent. Officials in charge of Mr Paroubek's security were immediately informed. According to the police, the bomb threat was made via a public phone and investigators are now checking footage from local security cameras.
The newly-appointed government led by Mirek Topolanek has indicated it intends to send additional military personnel to serve in a field hospital mission at Kabul airport, Afghanistan. The rotating mission is to last one year with around seventy personnel taking part. Previously, members of the elite 6th field hospital provided treatment for the wounded and ill in both Afghanistan and Iraq. If the plan is approved, members will join other Czech personnel in Afghanistan already serving under NATO both at Kabul airport as well as in northern parts of the country.
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