The head of the Czech Republic's traffic police Zdenek Bambas has been sacked after 14 years in the post. In a statement, the police presidium said the traffic police had been the subject of public dissatisfaction in recent months, adding that people associated the force with corruption and a lack of professionalism. Interior Minister Ivan Langer had previously said Mr Bambas was deaf and blind to the problems facing the police.
Cuts to the Culture Ministry's budget could mean the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival receives less state funding, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The festival currently gets an annual grant of CZK 30 million (almost USD 1.5 million). Culture Minister Vaclav Jehlicka said the aim was to ensure smaller events received sufficient funding. Meanwhile, the ministry is considering merging the National Theatre and the State Opera, the paper said.
The American company Boeing has received the green light to begin preparing plans for the building of US anti-missile bases in the Czech Republic. Washington wants to locate a radar base in central Bohemia with Prague set to decide on the matter next year. Polls have consistently suggested that most Czechs are opposed to the construction of such a facility.
The European Commission has formally accepted a Czech national plan to
draw on EU funds in the period 2007 to 2013. Friday's agreement brings to
an end months of negotiations. However, the actual drawing of EU money
requires European Commission approval of 24 individual Czech programmes
focused on various sectors; that process should begin at the end of
September and come to a conclusion next year.
Speaking in Brussels on Friday, the Czech minister for regional development, Jiri Cunek, said the country could already be making use of the EU funding, if it had not been for delays caused by the previous government and the stalemate which followed elections last June.
A 70-year-old man shot two of his neighbours dead in the north Bohemian town of Ostrov on Thursday, police said. The motive is believed to have been a long-running dispute between the man and his neighbours, who were a couple in their 50s. The perpetrator himself phoned the police after the shooting.
In a new report the United Nations Human Rights Committee criticises what it calls the continuing covert segregation of Romanies in the Czech education system, as well as the failure to compensate women who had been illegally sterilised. The UN report also denounces the use of caged beds in Czech psychiatric hospitals, and calls for the establishment of an independent body to investigate complaints against the police.
A 14-year-old German boy died when two gliders collided near Liberec on Thursday. The boy was at the controls of one of the gliders, despite not having a license. An instructor, who was sitting beside him, suffered only minor injuries. It is believed the accident occurred when the one of the gliders attempted to perform acrobatic tricks.
Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny has reported that Vladimir Dlouhy - a former trade and industry minister, as well as former deputy chairman of the Civic Democratic Alliance - could replace Jan Kohout in the post of Czech ambassador to the European Union. The government said this week it wanted to replace Mr Kohout before his mandate officially expired in May. It said this was in order to give his successor more time in the job before the country takes up the six month EU presidency in January 2009. According to Lidove Noviny, Vladimir Dlouhy has already received the offer and has until the end of the week to reach a decision. By comparison, Internet server Euro on Thursday downplayed the likelihood of Mr Dlouhy getting the job, saying he was on vacation until August.