The Czech Republic withdrew its candidature for a non-permanent seat on
the UN Security Council after failing to secure sufficient backing in a
vote on Tuesday. The announcement was made by Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas
Pojar. The Czech Republic had been in direct competition with Croatia for a
two-year stint on the Security Council due to begin in 2009. However,
neither country secured a place. In a first round of voting in New York the
Czech Republic received 91 out of 186 votes, while Croatia got 95 - both
falling short of the necessary two-thirds majority. Czech officials had
expected to finish in front of Croatia in the first round, and hoped to
advance in further voting.
The Czech Republic has held a non-permanent place on the UN Security Council once - in the period 1994-1995.
Prague's mayor, Pavel Bem, is set to hold talks next week with Czech
National Library director Vlastimil Jezek on the future of a planned new
National Library building. The Czech Press Agency reported that Mr Bem is
set to present Mr Jezek with a list of alternative sites for a building
that was originally planned for Prague's Letna Plain. The mayor says Letna
is too near the centre of the city for the brightly coloured modern
building, designed by architect Jan Kaplicky.
Civic Democrat Prague councillor Martin Langmayer said if a new location is selected Mr Kaplicky's plan will probably have to be abandoned; moving the project to another site would contravene International Union of Architects guidelines, he said.
The opposition Social Democrats would come first if elections were held this month, suggests a poll carried out by the STEM agency. 30.5 percent of respondents in October's poll said they would vote for the Social Democrats, ahead of 25.9 percent for the governing Civic Democrats. The Communist figured third in the poll, with just over 11 percent support.
The Czech national football team have travelled to Munich ahead of a Euro 2008 qualifier against Germany. It is not clear whether captain Tomas Rosicky will play in the game, while Marek Jankulovksi, Milan Baros and Jan Polak are all suspended. Though the Germans have already qualified for next year's European Championship, the team's manager says are still determined to win. If the Czechs win they qualify, though stalemate on Wednesday could be enough to put them through.
Two-thirds of Czech companies have been the victim of crime in the last two years, suggests an international survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Almost 80 Czech companies were included in the study; they lost on average CZK 34 million (around USD 1.7 m), the professional services firm found. Theft, corruption and bribery were the most common forms of crime. However, the percentage of Czech firms who were the victims of crime fell compared to an earlier survey.
The trial has begun in Prague of a former prosecutor who took part in the
1950s communist show trial of Milada Horakova. Ludmila Brozova-Polednova
faces charges of judicial killing for her part in the trial, though she
denies any wrongdoing. Now in her 80s, the former prosecutor did not appear
in court on Tuesday morning.
Milada Horakova, a lawyer and politician, is the only woman to have been executed during Czechoslovakia's 1950s show trials.
Tuesday is the 35th anniversary of the last time a trolleybus was seen on the streets of Prague, Lidove noviny reported. The first trolleybus appeared on the streets in 1936, with the late 1940s and 1950s regarded as the vehicle's golden era in the city. Prague's trolleybus network was at its most extensive in 1959, when nearly 200 vehicles covered over 60 km.
The Czech Republic has signed on to three of what are called operational programmes with the European Commission. Vladimir Spidla, the Czech European commissioner for social affairs, said the programmes allow the Czech Republic to draw over CZK 100 billion from the EU's 2007-2013 budget, of which CZK 2 billion could arrive this year. The programmes signed on Tuesday are Education for Competitiveness, Prague Adaptability and Human Resources and Employment. However, they are the only operational programmes the country has signed out of a total of 24 - the worst score among all new EU states.
In related news, Interior Minister Ivan Langer told journalists on Monday that the government was to spend 400 million CZK (20 million USD) over the next four years on crime prevention. Interior Minister Langer also called for a more regional approach to the tackling of crime. The money is to be spent, according to the Interior Ministry on crime-prevention schemes in schools, and CCTV systems in particular. Funds will no longer be administered centrally, said Mr. Langer, but by regional councils instead. In its new crime-prevention initiative, the government has given priority to lowering rates of violent crime and property crime in particular. Target groups identified include school-children and the socially-excluded.
Nearly a week after receiving Sir Nicholas Winton, Czech President Vaclav Klaus played host to the British Princess Royal, Princess Anne, on Sunday evening. On the menu was traditional Czech fare, including duck and dumplings, said one of the president's aids. Several other dignitaries were invited to the dinner, including the Czech Foreign Minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, who is, genealogists say, a distant relative of the princess. Princess Anne arrived in the Czech Republic on Sunday, and will be in the country for three days. On Sunday, she watched the Velka pardubicka steeplechase in east Bohemia, and over the next couple of days she is expected to pay visits to schools, homes for the elderly, and Lany, another one of the president's residences.
Prague transit stops start of massive project for US student
Political scientist: Prague has become a hub for Russian operations in broader Central Europe
Growing concern over plight of leading Chinese investor in the Czech Republic
President Zeman’s Chinese advisor arrested
Jan Masaryk’s mysterious death – a “last nail” in the coffin of democracy in 1948