Friday is St Wenceslas Day, an official state holiday in the Czech Republic, marking the death of the nation's patron saint. As is the tradition on this "Day of Czech Statehood," Prague Castle, as well as town halls and churches throughout the country, are holding celebrations to commemorate the martyrdom of Prince Wenceslas, who was killed on this day in the year 935 by his brother Boleslav. Over a thousand people made a pilgrimage to the town of Stara Boleslav where the murder took place and attended an open air mass celebrated by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk.
The lower house of Parliament has approved an amendment to the bankruptcy law aimed at giving creditors greater protection and speeding up bankruptcy proceedings. The amendment will bring the law in line with EU norms and regulations. It has yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president.
Nine Czech supporters of first division Banik Ostrava have been given suspended sentences of between eight and twelve months for their part in an attack on a group of Polish football fans last year. The group attacked supporters of Polish side Legia Warsaw who were travelling to Vienna for a first round UEFA Cup match against Austria Vienna on September 27, 2006. Some 50 Banik fans, aged between 20 and 33 years, waited for the Poles at the station at Ostrava, near the Polish border, bursting onto the train where a fight broke out. There is a long-standing rivalry between supporters of Banik, who have the reputation to being the most violent in the Czech Republic, and Polish fans who live just over the border.
Four young people were killed and two others badly injured when their car skidded on a wet road near the town of Olomouc in the early hours of Friday morning. The police say that the accident was most likely caused by heavy rain and poor visibility but they have not ruled out drink-driving. It appears that the young people were returning home from a party and it is not even clear who was driving at the time of the accident. The two survivors are said to be in a coma.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was asked to explain the purchase of a second hand Volvo by his current partner Lucie Talmanova during Thursday's question and answer session in the lower house. The opposition Social Democrats say that the deal seems suspicious since the car was bought from a businesswoman who had ties with the J and T Bank, which is interested in buying shares in CEZ that the government is planning to sell. The businesswoman in question is reportedly a friend of Lucie Talmanova and had recently received an 8 million crown loan from J and T Bank to open a luxury boutique in the centre of Prague. The prime minister said that the transaction had been above board and there was no conflict of interests.
The lower house of Parliament has approved a new media law which will pave the way for the introduction of digital television broadcasting. Under the new legislation broadcasting licenses should be granted to all applicants who meet basic conditions once the current analogue broadcasting system is switched off in 2010.
Former Czech president and playwright Vaclav Havel will guest-edit next Friday's edition of the economic daily Hospodarske Noviny, the newspaper reported. Mr. Havel has already chosen his themes for the edition, editor-in-chief Petr Simunek said. Simunek said the daily had also asked the current Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, Havel's longtime political rival, to be editor for a day. The idea is to give readers an insight into the opinions of Czech decision makers. The daily is following the example of British newspaper The Independent which invited U2 singer Bono to be guest editor last year.
A South African court is holding an extradition hearing in the case of fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir who is wanted by the Czech authorities for extensive fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to murder. The court on Thursday rejected a request to postpone the hearing for a fourth time. Krejcir was arrested at Johannesburg International Airport when he tried to enter the country on a false passport. He has acquired property in South Africa and is hoping to start a new life there with his family.
The president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, has backed the
country's bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council
in 2008. Speaking at a UN general meeting in New York on Wednesday, Mr
Klaus described the Czech Republic as "a reliable, mainstream and
stable" country which was very actively involved in various UN
missions. The president also alluded to the harmonious split of
Czechoslovakia in 1993 as proof of the Czechs' commitment to finding
non-violent solutions to conflicts. The Czech Republic is expected to
compete with Croatia for a two-year stint on the council once current
incumbent Slovakia's mandate expires at the end of this year. The vote is
due to be held on October 16.
Speaking at the same meeting, Mr Klaus said he was also in favour of modernising the UN but warned against any measures that would increase the organisation's ability to act and intervene in conflicts and disputes at the expense of what he called a "plurality of opinions".