The Czech government has launched the official website on Czech EU presidency www.eu2009.cz. The website was launched exactly one month before the country takes up the rotating EU presidency on January 1, 2009 in order to provide the public with basic information on the presidency and enable journalists to register for accreditation for EU events. The design of the web pages is based on the unified visual style of the presidency and the information published on the website will be available in Czech, English and French.
The former Vítkovice industrial complex in Ostrava has become the first Czech site to enter the newly emerging list of European Cultural Heritage. Other landmarks nominated by the Czech Ministry of Culture include the modern centre of Zlín, the Kynžvart Chateau in west Bohemia and the town of Vysoká u Příbrami, connected with Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. The EU list of European Cultural Heritage has been inspired by the UNESCO project and still has to be approved by the European Commission.
Mayors of the towns and villages in the Brdy Hills, an area southwest of Prague which has been selected as the site of a US radar base on Czech soil, are planning to file a complaint against the Czech government during their visit to the European Parliament next year. The mayors have been invited to visit the EP in February to provide their opinion on the stationing of the radar base in the Brdy military zone. The mayors have already sent a letter to US President-Elect Barack Obama asking him to reconsider the plan. Most of the villages in the Brdy area have rejected the radar base in local referendums and opinion polls indicate that the majority of Czechs do not want the US radar on Czech territory.
Canadian governor general Michaelle Jean, who is on a five-day official visit to the Czech Republic, met with president Václav Klaus on Monday. Mrs Jean began her visit on Saturday, with a tour of the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno. At a time when an increasing number of Czech Romanies are once again applying for asylum in Canada, the Romany issue is one of the most important issues on the governor’s agenda. Her visit to the Czech Republic is part of a tour of Central Europe, including Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.
The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic grew by 7.9 percent year-on-year to 23,144 crowns (approximately 1,140 US dollars) in the third quarter of the year, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Monday. The real wage, however, increased only by 1.2 percent due to a high inflation, which stood at 6.6 percent in the third quarter of this year.
The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama is disappointed by China’s cancellation of the China-EU summit. The Dalai Lama said at a press briefing in Prague on Monday that it was always better to meet and discuss things in spite of disagreement and different opinions. The summit was to be held in Lyon, France, on Monday. China cancelled the summit in protest over the Dalai Lama’s planned meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on December 6.
Lower house chairman Miloslav Vlček on Monday called an extraordinary session of the lower house on December 9 to deal with the Lisbon treaty. The move comes in response to calls for the treaty to be ratified as soon as possible in view of the Czech Republic’s upcoming EU presidency. The Czech Constitutional Court ruled last week that the terms of the treaty do not violate the Czech Constitution, opening the way for a vote on it in both houses of Parliament. Following the treaty’s ratification by Sweden, the Czech Republic is the only EU member states which has not yet voted on the document.
Czech skier Šárka Záhrobská claimed the first World Cup victory of her career on Sunday, winning the second slalom of the season in Aspen, Colorado. Záhrobská took the lead after the first leg, securing her victory ahead of Austrian Nicole Hosp and Tanja Poutiainen of Finland. Šárka Záhrobská is the reigning slalom world champion, but had never before won a World Cup race.
Five activists gathered outside the Office of the Government on Monday to
protest against the planned stationing of a US missile defence radar on
Czech soil. The activists vainly attempted to waylay ministers heading for
their cabinet meeting and handed out leaflets against the radar.
The United States wants to install a tracking radar on Czech soil and interceptor missiles in Poland as part of a broader missile defence shield in Europe. Czech and US government representatives signed the relevant treaties earlier this year, but they still have to be approved by the lower house. Anti-radar activists plan to stage more protests in Prague and Brno on Sunday.
A series of votes across the Czech Republic by regional assemblies of the Civic Democratic Party, appear to be strengthening the position of the incumbent party leader Mirek Topolánek. The votes are taking place ahead of the Civic Democrat party conference to be held in a week’s time, when Prague mayor Pavel Bém will challenge Mr Topolánek for the leadership of the party. Despite the continuing struggles within the Civic Democrats, both opinion polls as well as the results from the regional votes appear to suggest that Mr Bém will have a hard time ousting his incumbent colleague. So far, Mr Topolánek has been endorsed by six regional assemblies, while his opponent has yet to gain a single region-wide endorsement. However, the Prague assembly is widely expected to endorse Mr Bém, where the challenger serves as the city’s major. So far, nine of fourteen such votes have taken place, with Mr Topolánek winning endorsements from party members in the Pardubice, Zlín, Plzeň, Olomouc, Jihlava and southern Moravia regions. Another three regions have voted to endorse neither candidate.
Czech president burns giant red underpants at press briefing
Restoration work on Prague’s Astronomical Clock reveals hidden secrets
Czech government seeks power to set quotas for foreign workers by decree
Czech restaurants and pubs facing serious shortage of workers
Study indicates ethnic hate is contagious