Over 100,000 people visited museums and galleries around Prague on Saturday during an annual event entitled Museum Night. Twenty-one institutions - including the new Museum of Charles Bridge- opened their doors, free of charge, at 7 pm special free buses ferried people between the museums and galleries.
A group of artists infiltrated the broadcasting of Czech Television on Sunday morning, superimposing a nuclear mushroom cloud on live shots of a scenic area in east Bohemia. A spokesperson for Czech TV said the station would take action against the group Ztohoven, who added their own internet address to the doctored images. They managed to sabotage the programme Panorama by tampering with a TV camera at Cerny Dul in the Krkonose Mountains.
The Czech Republic contributed 50 million CZK (2.3 million USD) towards reconstruction in Iraq last year, the Czech Foreign Ministry said. The projects included the rebuilding of an oil refinery in Basra and providing local people with the technology to produce clean drinking water. On Monday the government will discuss this year's aid for Iraq. Czech soldiers on the ground in the country have trained over 8,000 Iraqi police officers; their main duty at present is guarding an international base in Basra.
Attacking Czechs is the national sport in Austria, the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, said in an interview in Sunday's edition of Austria's Kurier. Mr Schwarzenberg told the newspaper he had no understanding of Austrian worries about the Czech Temelin nuclear power station, which he said was safer than reactors in Germany. He added that Austrians should reflect on how much of the energy their state imports is produced by nuclear reactors. Minister Schwarzenberg said Austrians and Czechs were in the habit of arguing in the style of close family members, and that attacking Czechs had become the national sport in Austria. Vienna has frequently called for Temelin to be closed down, saying it is unsafe.
A 25-year-old man who was submerged underwater in his car for half an hour has regained consciousness, a hospital spokesperson in the north Moravian town of Orlova said. The man was no longer breathing and his heart had stopped beating when he was pulled out of a river nine days ago; rescue workers spent thirty minutes trying to revive him and doctors gave long odds against him regaining consciousness. He is now speaking and says he remembers the accident clearly.
The minister of culture, Vaclav Jehlicka, has threatened to resign if his ministry does not receive more funding next year. Speaking on a TV debate show, Mr Jehlicka said he did not accept the post in order to become a "minister receiver" and had, on the contrary, promised to increase spending. The proposed state budget has earmarked 6.7 billion crowns for the arts in 2008, around 1.2 billion less than this year.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, has said he believes a key
European Union summit next week will reach agreement on the outlines of a
new treaty on running the 27-member organisation. Speaking after talks
near Berlin on Sunday with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Mr
Topolanek said Prague would only veto efforts to revive the same
constitution French and Dutch voters rejected two years ago.
The Czech prime minister also restated his country's desire to see some powers returned from Brussels to member states. On Thursday the Czech Republic sent a proposal to fellow member states aimed at increasing the powers of national parliaments. However, it stopped short of proposing that national governments be allowed to completely block European legislation.
Czech leaders have consistently expressed reservations about any EU constitution. Prague is also supporting Poland's fight to prevent bigger states losing some voting rights.
The Czech Republic's largest open-air classical music event - Smetana's Litomysl International Opera Festival kicked off on Friday evening with a concert by popular Czech soprano Eva Urbanova. The annual event, which is held in the town of Litomysl where Czech composer Bedrich Smetana was born, attracts around 14,000 visitors from all over the world. Highlights of this year's festival include a rare performance of Bedrich Smetana's opera Smetana's The Kiss and Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut with renowned foreign soloists. The festival will run until 1 July.
Czech daily Pravo has reported that the Minister for Finance Miroslav Kalousek wants to make information concerning requests for grants from public coffers available on the internet. If Mr Kalousek has his way it will be possible to go online and view all grant applications and decisions on awarding public monies. Currently, billions of crowns in public money are dispensed to non-profit organisations, cultural institutions, schools and research facilities every year. In most cases, the decisions on awarding public funds are made by civil servants whose work has not yet been subject to any public scrutiny.
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