Czech President Vaclav Klaus says he cannot understand why a corruption case involving a government minister is still open. Earlier this year, an investigation was launched against Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek, who is suspected to have taken a bribe when he was still mayor of the Moravian town of Vsetin a few years ago. Just before his case was to be taken up in court this month, the prosecutor overseeing the case was replaced due to procedural errors. In a televised debate on Sunday, President Vaclav Klaus said it is in everyone's interest that the case is dealt with soon.
Residents of the village of Mirosov voted against stationing a US radar
base in a nearby military zone. The Czech Republic has recently formally
started negotiations with the United States on plans to build part of its
anti-missile system on Czech territory. In a referendum in Mirosov on
Sunday, just over 51 percent of those eligible cast their vote. Of 897
votes, 867 were in favour of their local representatives doing everything
in their power to fight against the radar.
Washington wants to put 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, at a cost of 3.5 billion US dollars. The radar site is to be built in the Brdy hills between Prague and Pilsen.
Hundreds of people attended a memorial ceremony on Sunday on the site of
Lezaky, one of the two Czech villages that the Nazis razed to the ground
65 years ago. In retaliation for the assassination of the Nazi governor of
Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, all the children in the village
were transported to either concentration camps or resettled with German
families whilst all 52 adults were killed and Lezaky grazed to the ground
on June 24th 1942.
Among those who attended the ceremony was Senator Petr Pithart, who said that the state still has a debt to pay to the victims of Lezaky and should establish a memorial. Sunday's commemorative event was also used to christen a book on the Lezaky legacy called Krizovatky casu (Crossroads of Time), written by Lezaky survivor Jarmila Stulikova-Dolezalova.
In related news, a 13-year old boy is believed to have drowned during an attempt to cross the Dyje River that runs through the Moravian town of Breclav. The boy made a bet with his friends that he could swim across the river and disappeared beneath the water surface when he was half-way through. Another boy, who was swimming with him managed to get to the other side. Rescue workers have been looking for the boy's body, since he disappeared on Saturday evening.
The prices of family homes in the Czech Republic have risen by four percent on average in the last year. The cause of the increase in prices is the increase in interest; compared to 2005, the number of people who wanted to buy a family home rose by seven percent. Real estate companies expect prices in the country's cities to rise by another five percent this year.
A government office dealing with the integration of the Roma minority into
the rest of society is expected to be fully functional by the beginning of
next year. In a televised debate programme on Sunday, Minister without
Portfolio responsible for minorities and human rights, Dzamila Stehlikova,
said the office would strive to prevent discrimination against Roma but
also their abuse of social benefits. A staff of some 70 people will
coordinate efforts by local authorities, schools, NGOs, and ministries.
Those sociologists specialising in minority issues who have voiced their reservations so far say they fear that the office will focus on individual cases. In a poll conducted by the Median agency, 80 percent of respondents saw the integration of the Roma community as a major problem in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic features among the EU countries with the highest number
of child deaths caused by accidents. Figures released by the Health
Ministry show that 8.47 of 100,000 children up to 14 years die as a result
of an accident. The most common causes of death were road accidents and
drowning. Deputy Health Minister Marketa Hellerova says a national action
plan on the prevention of child accidents will be presented to the
government by next month.
Within the EU, the Czech Republic ranked seventh. The member state with the highest number of deaths is Latvia (23.51 of 100,000) while Malta has the lowest number (2.19 of 100,000).
The National Museum has plans to exhibit some of the banners and slogans
that were used by thousands of trade union members who took to the streets
of Prague on Saturday to protest against the government's reform package.
Historians from the museum's current affairs department have been
attending large demonstrations to collect material documenting the moods
of time. The department already has around 100 exhibits.
Over 25,000 trade union members from around the country attended a demonstration in protest at planned extensive tax and social welfare reforms, which the government says are necessary to reduce the public deficit.
A Czech family on holiday in Slovakia's High Tatra mountains had to be flown to hospital after being hit by falling boulders on Sunday. The 68-year-old father suffered severe injuries to his head. His wife and two children were also treated for various injuries, including a severed small finger, at the hospital in the nearby town of Poprad. The helicopter rescue team narrowly avoided injury themselves from falling rocks after landing near the scene of the accident, AFP news agency reports.