On Sunday the liberation of the west Bohemian city of Pilsen by US troops on May 6, 1945 was remembered in a celebration at the "Thanks, America!" memorial. A number of veterans of the liberation took part in the event attended also by the prime minister, several cabinet members and other state officials as well as the ambassadors of the United States and Belgium. Tuesday May 8th - Victory in Europe Day - is a national holiday in the Czech Republic.
According to the French embassy's website, French nationals registered on the voting lists in the Czech Republic clearly preferred Nicolas Sarkozy, France's new President-elect, to his rival Segolene Royal in Sunday's elections. Out of the 846 voters who cast their ballots in Prague on Sunday, Mr Sarkozy received 59.9 percent, compared to the 53.06 percent of the vote in France. In the first round of the presidential elections two weeks ago, French expats in the Czech Republic gave the fewest votes to Segolene Royal.
President Vaclav Klaus and the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Richard Graber, have agreed on the necessity of communicating with Russia about US plans to build a radar base in the Czech Republic. President Klaus recently visited Russia and reassured Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Czech Republic did not have the slightest ambition to direct the base against the Russian Federation. Mr Graber said during Monday's meeting with President Klaus that it was important that talks with Russia should continue.
Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidisova has pulled out of the German Open due to a hand injury, organisers said on Monday. Italian Tathiana Garbin will take Vaidisova's spot as the number six seed and 16-year-old Tamira Paszek of Austria enters the main field as a "lucky loser". The main draw of the 1.34 million USD, clay-court tournament in Berlin gets under way on Monday. Belgian world number one Justine Heninis is the top seed. Six other top 10 players are in the draw, including defending champion Nadia Petrova of Russia.
Memorial ceremonies have been held at Prague's Olsany cemeteries for those who lost their lives in WWII fights as well as in the Prague Uprising of May 1945. Cabinet members, MPs and representatives of foreign embassies also laid wreathes at the graves of soldiers from the Commonwealth countries, the Soviet Union and Bulgaria.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said that Nicolas Sarkozy's election as French president will bring changes "as he realises they are necessary both in the French domestic and European policies". Mr Klaus congratulated Mr Sarkozy on his election and voiced a belief that Czech-French relations would continue to develop successfully. Mr Klaus also said the Czech Republic would be most interested in France's position on the latest European issues. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that with Mr Sarkozy's election, France had clearly said it wanted reforms. Deputy Prime Minister for EU affairs Alexandr Vondra said that Mr Sarkozy's election was good news for France.
Czech Television has reported that fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir, who is wanted for various crimes in the Czech Republic, has applied for political asylum in South Africa. Mr Krejcir, a citizen of the Seychelles, has reportedly hired a team of Czech lawyers who are on their way to South Africa. Radovan Krejcir was detained in Johannesburg last month after he flew in to South Africa with a false passport. In the last two years he lived in exile in the Seychelles where he had fled from the Czech Republic in mid-2005. A court in Johannesburg is due to decide on Mr Krejcir's release from custody later this month.
The Czech Republic have reached the quarter-finals at the World Ice Hockey Championships in Russia. The Czechs secured the point they needed to go through after drawing with Canada in a game the Canadians won 4:3 in extra time. They will now face either Sweden or Russia for a place in the last four.
Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova has said the 28-year-old Czech soldier who died in a landslide in Afghanistan last week will receive a military award in memoriam. Speaking at a military award ceremony on Monday, Mrs Parkanova paid tribute to the soldier, and a minute of silence was observed. The accident occurred on Thursday night when four vehicles carrying Czech soldiers were driving through the mountains some 30 kilometres from the base of the ISAF multinational forces reconstruction team in Fayzabad, north Afghanistan. A landslide caused by heavy rainfall hit one vehicle with two soldiers. Only one of them was alive when rescuers arrived and is now in a stable condition. Further five soldiers suffered light injuries. The 85-member Czech contingent works along with German and Danish soldiers in the Afghan province of Badakhshan. Besides, a Czech field hospital operates at the Kabul international airport.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is scheduled to begin a two-day official visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, the first ever visit by a Czech premier to that country. On Thursday, the prime minister will travel to Georgia in the Caucasus region. During the five-day trip, Mr Topolanek is due to meet his counterparts, Shaukat Aziz and Zurab Noghaideli, and talks in both countries will concern security and political issues as well as economic cooperation. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will be travelling with Trade and Industry Minister Martin Riman, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Vaclav Paces and Culture Minister Vaclav Jehlicka as well as a delegation of Czech businessmen.
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