A new information centre for tourists has opened in the centre of Prague in Rytirska street 31, in a building formerly known as the House of Soviet Science and Culture. The head of the Prague Information Service, Vaclav Novotny, says the new centre is replacing an old facility in Na prikope street which was closed down last year. The centre will provide tourists with information on cultural events, sightseeing and transport and facilitate accommodation, day trips and guided tours.
President Vaclav Klaus has appointed Vlastimil Picek as the new Czech military chief-of-staff. Mr Picek, the former head of the President's Military Office, is replacing Pavel Stefka whose term of office expired this year. Mr Picek's main task as chief-of-staff will be to carry on with the reform of the Czech military and participate in discussions on the planned stationing of a US radar base in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic's biggest petrochemicals and refinery company, Unipetrol, blamed exceptional write-offs on Thursday for a 52.7-percent drop in 2006 group net profit to 1.62 billion crowns (75.7 million dollars). The company, in which Polish state-owned refinery giant PKN Orlen has a 62.9-percent stake, said it had incurred one off losses totalling 2 billion crowns in the sales of non-refinery businesses, such as chemical company Spolana and rubber producer, Kaucuk. Operating profit for the group fell 30.0 percent on a 12-month comparison to 3.565 billion crowns.
The police are looking into statements made by Communist Party leader Vojtech Filip at a meeting of the party's executive leadership last weekend in order to ascertain whether he did not breach the law on extremism. Addressing the party's central committee, Mr. Filip called for the party to re-embrace the philosophy of Marx and Lenin, praised the former communist regime in Czechoslovakia and referred to a possible new revolution.
One man has been killed and fifteen people have been injured in a traffic accident involving a bus and a passenger car on a highway south of Prague. The 63-year old driver of the passenger car died on the scene of the accident. A 58-year old man was flown to hospital by helicopter and 14 people were taken to a local hospital with lighter injuries. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
The Czech Republic will respond to the US request to station a radar base on Czech territory within a month, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar. If the answer is affirmative it would then take another several months to settle the details of a bilateral agreement and its approval in Parliament would be on the agenda either in the winter or spring of next year. The radar base would be part of a US anti-missile defence system in Central Europe stationed in the Czech Republic and Poland.
In an unrelated survey by the CVVM agency, 68 percent of respondents said they were unhappy with the way the cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek communicates with the public. Sixty-four percent of those polled had objections to the prime minister himself and 66 percent said they objected to the cabinet line-up.
Swedish television has broadcast an interview with former Czech foreign
minister Jan Kavan, in which he seems to indicate he could use his
influence to slow down a possible investigation into alleged bribery
linked to a large military contract. The Swedish reporters, posing as arms
traders, recorded the interview secretly. Mr Kavan has denied saying he
could influence the Czech police; he told Czech Television that last month
he had filed charges against the reporters for asking him to do so.
Police in the Czech Republic, Sweden and Britain are investigating whether bribery took place in connection with the Czech Republic's planned purchase and subsequent lease of Gripen fighter jets from Sweden's Saab and Britain's BAE Systems. The Social Democratic Party of which Mr. Kavan is a member, has urged him to contact the police and give them whatever information he has pertaining to the case. The Czech Defense Ministry has said it may commission its inspection team to look into the matter as well.