Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has urged the EU to provide more funds for the reconstruction of Georgia. In an interview for the Spanish daily El País on Saturday, Mr Topolánek said that the European Union could lose alternative supply routes of oil and gas if it keeps standing by. The EU offered Georgia some 500 million euros worth of aid. Mr Topolánek also said that NATO made a mistake when it did not offer Georgia and Ukraine the status of official candidates at the NATO summit in April.
Czech Republic’s Mirka Knapková won the European title in women’s single sculls at the European Rowing Championships in Schinias, Greece, on Satruday. Mirka Knapokvám, who finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Beijing in August, took the lead in the final race and finished seven seconds ahead of Belgium’s de Decker.
A retrospective of the Czech-born, US-based filmmaker Vojtěch Jasný started in New York on Friday. The week-long event was launched with the movie Všichni dobří rodáci, or All My Compatriots, which won the best director award at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival. Vojtěch Jasný left Czechoslovakia in 1970, two years after the Soviet-led invasion of the country, and has since lived in the United States. He is currently working on an autobiographical film entitled The Labyrinth Time Stories of Vojtěch Jasný.
Hospitals in Prague have no more beds for patients with hepatitis, the news agency ČTK reported on Friday. The Czech capital and the central Bohemian region saw an epidemic of the disease during the summer, with 350 Prague inhabitants infected since the beginning of the year. Last week, 62 people came down with hepatitis A in the capital. The infection department of the Na Bulovce hospital said they would offer another 29 beds normally used by another department. Pharmacies in Prague also report a lack of hepatitis vaccines; the State Institute for Drug Control has approved additional imports of the drug.
A 1913 portrait of Adolf Gärtner by the painter Jan Zrzavý sold for 6.9 million crowns, or more than 400,000 US dollars, at an auction in Prague on Saturday, becoming the second highest-selling Zrzavý painting. The portrait,m which was considered lost in the last decade, was influenced by cubism but also show traces of Zrzavý’s later style.
NATO Days, an air show featuring military aircraft and vehicles from nine countries, took place at the international Leoš Janáček Airport in Ostrava, north Moravia, on Saturday. The show presented one of the world’s largest aircraft, Ukraine’s Antonov A-124 Ruslan, as well as the Eurofighter, the British early warning planes AWACS and the Spanish acrobats Patrulla Aquila. Around 40,000 people attended the air show.
Telephone conversations recorded by the police in 2000 suggest that Ivan Langer, then vice-chairman of the Chamber of Deputies and the current interior minister, collaborated with organized crime, the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. Mr Langer is another senior politician of the ruling Civic Democrats, after Vlastimil Tlustý, suspected of lobbying for the unofficial head of Czech organized crime František Mrázek. Both politicians have denied that they would have knowingly collaborated with the mob. Civic Democratic leadership is to meet on Monday to deal with the situation in the party. The Civic Democrats have recently been hit with a scandal involving one of their MPs, Jan Morava, who was exposed as ready to allegedly blackmail Mr Tlustý with staged photos.
Several hundred people with ties to the Church of Scientology protested against psychiatric practices in Prague on Saturday, in connection with the 14th World Psychiatric Congress which began in the Czech capital at the weekend. One of the organizers said children with hyperactive disorders should no be given drugs; the protesters also called for an end of psychiatric medication in general.
The latest play by the former Czech President and playwright Václav Havel “Leaving” premiered in London on Friday. The first foreign staging of the play, which premiered in Prague in May, took place in London’s Orange Tree Theatre as part of a series of events dedicated to Mr Havel. The play, known in Czech as Odcházení, was translated into English by Paul Wilson and directed by Sam Waters. Václav Havel will attend the London performance of his latest play later this month together with former British PM Tony Blair and playwright Harold Pinter.
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his Czech counterpart Vlasta Parkánová signed an agreement Friday clearing the way for stationing US forces to operate a missile defence radar in the Czech Republic. The status of forces agreement provides the legal basis for the US presence in the Czech Republic, and marks the last piece of more than a year’s negotiation over the radar. Robert Gates called the step “the culmination of a process to draw [the two] nations closer and help protect Europe”. He expressed the hope that the Czech Parliament would now ratify the agreement. The US radar base, paired with 10 interceptor missiles stationed in Poland, aims to counter possible threats by rogue countries, such as Iran. Czech Defence Minister Vlasta Parkánová said she the missile defence system would make a significant contribution to regional security.
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