Jiří Perners, the new head of the Institute for the Study of
Totalitarian Regimes, has rejected concerns about the institute’s future
voiced by critics who opposed his appointment. Mr Pernes told a news
conference on Monday he had offered several Czech and foreign public
figures to join the institute’s council of experts. The new director
said the institute would publish around 14 million digitalized documents
from the country’s communist period on its website by the end of the
Mr Pernes, who earlier this month became the institute’s new director, has been facing criticism over his past, including his studies at the communist academy of Marxism and Leninism. Three members of the institute’s council of experts quit in protest of his appointment.
The two planned blocks of the Temelín nuclear power plant should be
independent of the existing ones, the Czech energy giant ČEZ said in a
statement on Monday. The plant will have the two existing,
reactors VVER-1000 working alongside the new reactors that will however
rely on the same supplies of energy and water.
The Czech energy producer ČEZ announced plans last year to build two new blocks at its Temelín plant. According to the firm’s management, an independent functioning of the reactor blocks meets the requirements of all three competitors for the plant’s completion – the French firm Areva, Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Westinghouse from the United States. Historically the biggest ever Czech public contract, worth around 500 billion crowns, or nearly 27 billion US dollars, should be awarded by the end of next year.
In a major fixture of the Czech football season, Sparta Prague beat city rivals Slavia 1:0 on Monday. The host Sparta, a strong favourite for this year’s title, was on the defensive throughout much of the first half, with defending champions Slavia wasting some good opportunities. But in the 39th minute, Sparta threw the ball in front of the goal where it re-bounced before Sparta’s Libor Sionko drove it in. In the second half, Slavia was pushing to equalize but Sparta would not let that happen. After Monday’s win, Sparta Prague is leading the table with two points ahead of Baník Ostrava, six rounds before the end of the season. Slavia, down at eight place, has lost any viable chance of defending the league title.
Czech President Václav Klaus told the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita on Monday that Europe would be entirely different without his Polish colleague Lech Kaczynski. Mr Klaus said he was now single-handed in the struggle for greater sovereignty of EU nations. Václav Klaus, said he considered the late Polish president a close friend, with whom he also talked about many things including art. The Czech head of state said Mr Kaczynski had given him a copy of Andrzej Wajda’s film Katyn about the murder of around 20,000 Polish officers by the Soviet secret service.
Orlík Castle in southern Bohemia, one of the region’s most significant and popular tourist destinations, was broken into on Sunday night. The thieves stole a number or precious historic weapons, including swords and sabres before they were disturbed by security workers and ran away. The chateau, originally a 12th century castle, belongs to the Schwarzenberg family.
The Czech president’s office has offered an explanation for its failure to invite Václav Havel to last week’s signing of the US-Russia nuclear deal at Prague Castle. A spokesman for the Czech president said that at the time the guest list was being prepared Mr Havel had been ill. The former president himself told Czech TV that he did not think the mistake was that of President Václav Klaus but rather of some of his staff. Mr Havel’s former spokesman Ladislav Špaček had earlier called the Castle’s omission of Mr Havel “scandalous”. In his view, Mr Havel should have been present as a statesman who had raised the profile of the Czech Republic and had been one of the main architects of its foreign policy.
Prague City Hall unanimously rejected plans for an amendment to the gambling legislation that should limit the ability of cities and towns to regulate gambling in their municipalities. The amendment is to be debated this week by the lower house of the Czech Parliament, after it was approved last week by the house’s budget committee. According to the mayors of Prague municipalities, the amendment will make it impossible for local authorities to determine where gambling machines and video lottery terminals can be positioned. Prague Mayor Pavel Bém said that if approved, the amendment would dramatically increase the number of gambling bars in the capital as well as other cities and towns. The claims were rejected by the Czech sports betting firms association which believes the new law would in fact give municipalities more power in regulating gambling.
Czech tennis number one Tomáš Berdych won his first clay match of the new season when he beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6:3, 6:1 in the first round at Monte Carlo Masters tournament on Monday. After a slow beginning, which saw him losing 0:2 in the first set, Berdych managed to turn the game around winning five games in a row. He then made very few faults and served seven aces to clinch a victory. In the second round, Tomáš Berdych will face Richard Gasquet from France.
The Czech government will meet on Tuesday to discuss the details of a day
of national mourning in honour of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and
Polish officials killed in Saturday’s plane crash. A spokesman for the
Czech Foreign Ministry said the government is likely to agree that the day
of mourning should coincide with day of Mr Kaczynski’s funeral; Czech
national flags on official buildings will be drawn half-mast, and a minute
of silence will be held at noon. Also, casinos and gambling bars will
for the day. The government will also suggest that organizers consider
postponing any public events.
Czech President Václav Klaus agreed with the government on Sunday that a day of national mourning should be held in the Czech Republic. Similar measures were adopted in 2005 to honour the victims of the tsunami in south-east Asia, and the late Pope John Paul II.
Seven violent attacks against Jews were registered in the Czech Republic in 2009, according to a study by Tel Aviv University released on Monday. Although it mentions no concrete attack, the study highlights the case of the Czech Workers Party, which was banned by a Czech court earlier this year and which drew attention to what it claimed was a high number of Jews among top Czech officials. The study also warns of an increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks in some EU countries, including the UK which last year registered a steep rise of 69 percent.
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