The new Bavarian Prime Minister Guenther Beckstein called for a dialogue
with the Czech Republic on the post-war Benes decrees in his first address
to representatives of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft in Munich on
Saturday. Mr Beckstein called for the abolition of the decrees saying they
were in contradiction with international law, natural law, human rights
The decrees, issued by former Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, provided for the confiscation of property from collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans and Hungarians from Czechoslovakia. A large part of the deported ethnic Germans then found a new home in Bavaria. Mr Beckstein's predecessor Edmund Stoiber never paid an official visit to the Czech Republic during his 14 years in office.
One man was killed and another sustained serious injuries in a motor glider crash at the airport in Sumperk, North Moravia, on Saturday morning. According to local police, the motor glider crashed shortly after takeoff and caught fire. The pilot died in the accident, the other man was transported by a helicopter to a burns clinic in Ostrava.
Czech railway inspectors are investigating a possible breach of safety regulations by the national rail operator Czech Railways which allegedly let former Formula One racer Emerson Fittipaldi drive a high-speed Pendolino train, the iDnes server reported on Friday. iDnes said it had filed a complaint with railway inspectors based on a reader's observation. It brought pictures of Fittipaldi, the 1972 and 1974 Formula One champion, sitting in the driver's compartment. The server quotes a Czech Railways spokesman as saying that "Mr Fittipaldi only sat in the driver's compartment to pose for a photographer but certainly did not drive".
A study released by Czech and US scientists says small children living in polluted areas face a higher risk of suffering from bronchitis than their peers living in a less polluted environment. The study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal blames the trend on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the product of burning, which are carried by fine dust particles in the air. Over a thousand children in the Czech Republic were tested in the late 1990s. The study concluded children between two and 4.5 years of age are 56 percent more likely to develop bronchitis.
The city of Brno has raised a memorial to US pilot William Kiggins who was shot down over the city 63 years ago. The monument has the shape of a wing of his P-51 Mustang aircraft whose parts were discovered five months ago two metres underground in one of the city's districts. William Kiggins' fighter plane was shot down on October 11, 1944 by German antiaircraft artillery and "Miss Betty", as he affectionately called his aircraft, crashed in a field. A local woman who remembers the crash helped identify the exact spot where the remnants of the aircraft were eventually discovered. The local authorities are planning to put them on display at an airport in Brno.
The organisers of events at Pardubice Racecourse say the venue is ready for Sunday's visit by Princess Anne. They also say drivers on the road between Hradec Kralove and Chrudim may experience difficulties. The princess is due to arrive in Pardubice, east Bohemia, aboard a Royal Air Force aircraft used by the British Royal family. Her schedule will include a visit to the 117th Grand Pardubice steeple chase, where she will present the prize to the winner. The princess, who is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, is also scheduled to meet President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, as well as to visit schools and charity organisations.
The coalition Christian Democrats say they are opposed to the plan by the
Prague City Hall to host the 2016 Olympic Games. After a party meeting on
Friday evening, the leader of the Prague branch Marian Hosek said his
believed the event would be megalomaniac and would imply a deficit in the
Prague municipal budget as well as burden the whole state budget.
Christian Democrat chairman, Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development
Cunek indicated that he shared this opinion. The idea to host the Olympic
Games in Prague is being promoted by the Prague City Hall and Mayor Pavel
Bem of the Civic Democrats.
Prague officially joined the battle for organising the 2016 Olympics in September when Mr Bem, along with the Czech Olympic Committee chairman Milan Jirasek, signed a letter declaring Prague's interest in this respect. An economic study has preliminarily put the costs of the possible Olympics at 490 billion crowns.
Polish lobbyist Jacek Spyra, accused of attempted fraud, was released from
custody in Prague's Pankrac prison on a two-million-crown bail on Friday,
the Novinky.cz server reported. Mr Spyra is suspected of having offered
Andrej Babis, the owner of Agrofert company, to help him get rid of
troubles with his investigation in Poland in exchange for a
10-million-crown bribe. Mr Spyra allegedly told Mr Babis that high-ranking
Polish officials were interested in criminalising him but their efforts
could be stopped. In reaction to it, Agrofert lodged a criminal complaint
against Mr Spyra who was eventually detained at a meeting with an Agrofert
employee who was to hand over the money to him. If found guilty, Mr Spyra
faces up to 12 years in prison.
Andrej Babis was among the bidders in the privatisation of the Czech petrochemical giant Unipetrol. The Czech state finally sold the company to Polish PKN Orlen. Both Czech and Polish police investigated the circumstances of the deal on suspicion of corruption.
A Czech NGO helping the victims and witnesses of crime says police have evicted 665 domestic violence offenders, five of them women, from their homes in the first nine months of this year. According to the organisation Bily kruh bezpeci, 664 women and 25 men were immediately threatened by domestic violence and 773 children witnessed the police interventions. In 32 cases, a person was evicted repeatedly. According to statistics, most cases of domestic violence have been reported in North Moravia, followed by South Moravia. A law allowing courts to ban domestic violence offenders from their homes for ten days after an incident came into force in January this year.
In related news some 1.2 billion crowns (62 million US dollars) may be invested in the infrastructure of the Czech Brdy area, the site planned for the US radar base. Ivan Fuksa, deputy finance minister and chairman of the government commission for the development of Brdy made the statement on Thursday. According to Mr Fuksa, the Finance Ministry has allotted 200-250 million crowns towards the project and the rest may be financed from European funds and subsidies of individual ministries. The government commission widened its list of towns and villages that are to be covered by the projects to more than twenty. All are situated within a 10-kilometre radius of the planned site. The project involves the development of infrastructure and transport accessibility of the region around the military zone.