The Czech car maker Skoda Auto is considering pulling out as one of the Tour de France sponsors, a Skoda spokesperson has said. While the major reason behind the decision has to do with reviewing the car producer's results on the French market, Skoda also takes seriously the recent doping scandals of the legendary French cycling race, according to the spokesperson. Skoda started cooperating with Tour de France in 2004 when they signed a four years' contract.
About 200 skinheads march in Svitavy, some 70 km east of Pardubice, on Saturday in support of Vlastimil Pechanec who was sentenced four years ago to 17 years in prison for a racially motivated murder. In June 2001, Pechanec murdered a local Roma, stabbing him twice in the stomach. The march was already held last year with about 90 skinheads attending. Local Roma initiatives have criticized the Svitavy town hall for giving the organizers permission to march.
The United States will pay for the disposal of excess missile systems, the daily Pravo reports. The Czech Foreign Ministry was approached by the American embassy in Prague in February and was offered financial assistance of USD 600,000 (over CZK 12,000,000) with the disposal of excess Soviet-produced missiles. The Czech army is planning to destroy over 1300 of these missiles together with more than 600 launching pads until the end of this year and only then will the Foreign Ministry receive the money. The U.S. government fears that the missiles, if not destroyed, could be sold to third parties and eventually used by terrorists.
Czech mountaineer Libor Uher climbed K2 on Friday, the second tallest mountain in the world and one of the most difficult ones to climb. Uher is the second Czech ever to get on top of the 8,611 meters tall K2. To climb the mountain, Uher used the Southwest Pillar but bad weather conditions made him use the Abruzzi Spur to descend.
The Prague city hall wants to limit some alternative tourist vehicles in the centre of Prague. According to Czech TV, the city hall considers the situation of tourist transport in Prague's historic centre to be "chaotic" and is planning to introduce regulation measures as well as specific routes for these vehicles. Visitors to Prague may now choose between horse-drawn carriages, vintage cars and even rickshaws to take them on sightseeing tours around the city.
The chairman of the Czech Senate Premysl Sobotka wants to see President Vaclav Klaus to discuss the date of the coming presidential election. President Klaus was elected on 27th February 2003 and some constitutional experts say his term expires on the same day in 2008. The Czech president is elected for a five years' term and can only be elected two times in a row. The date of the presidential elections is declared by the Czech Parliament. Vaclav Klaus has already said he would run for the position again and he can rely on the support by the Civic Democrats, the leading party in the government. Other parties have also begun searching for a suitable opponent for Mr. Klaus and Jiri Dienstbier, former Czech foreign minister, has already said he was prepared to face Vaclav Klaus in the elections next year.
Two techno parties are under way at the moment in the Czech Republic. One of them started illegally on Friday in a nature reserve just outside the town of Ceska Lipa, some 80 km north of Prague, but organizers moved the party outside the nature reserve. The other is held in Udrc, about 20 km west of Karlovy Vary, on a private lot. Police are monitoring both events.
The new Schengen information system, necessary for the enlargement of the Schengen zone of unrestricted travel, will be ready in time, according to interior ministers of 14 Eu countries. At a meeting held in the Slovakian capital Bratislava on Friday, the ministers said that despite some initial problems with the implementation of the system, everything will be ready by the end of August. Earlier this month, nine of the old Schengen zone member states reported problems with the new system suggesting it could not be put to use in time. This would postpone the Schengen zone enlargement which is expected to take place on 1st January 2008.
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