The former Czech president Vaclav Havel has been awarded the Canada Order, the supreme Canadian distinction, as the only foreigner among 109 winners this year, Canada's Governor General Adrienne Clarkson says on her website. The information was confirmed for the CTK news agency by Mr Havel's office and the Canadian Embassy in Prague. Ms Clarkson, who is Canada's de facto Head of State representing the British Queen Elizabeth II, plans to hand over the decorations late this year.
President Vaclav Klaus announced on Thursday he was once again
recommending lawyer Ales Pejchal to become a judge of the Constitutional
Court. Mr Pejchal, whose candidacy was rejected by the Senate, was
recommended only one day after the Senate also rejected three of four
other candidates proposed by President Klaus. Only Civic Democrat senator
Dagmar Lastovecka was successful in Wednesday's Senate vote. The other
candidates, lawyers Vladimir Balas, Vaclav Pavlicek, and Klara
Vesela-Samkova, did not receive a majority approval. Mr Pejchal was
rejected by the Senate in July.
Out of nine candidates for Constitutional Court judges, the Senate has so far approved only five. Two of the five, Vojen Guettler and Pavel Hollaender, had been Constitutional Court judges in the previous term already. The other three approved judges come from parliament. They are former Justice Minister and ex-senator Pavel Rychetsky, former senator Dagmar Lastovecka and former MP Miloslav Vyborny.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has said that rescuers led members of an ill-fated Czech climbing expedition to safety on Thursday after one man died on a volcano on the eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. The nineteen remaining members of the Czech group were recovering after a three-day ordeal on the Klyuchevskoi volcano. The rescuers climbed the volcano again to retrieve the body of a 44-year-old man who died after he was hit on the head by a falling rock last Monday. The Czech group was unable to move the fatally injured man and waited in thick fog for help.
President Vaclav Klaus has started sending the first letters announcing his rejection of requests for pardon, the Presidential Office press department said on Thursday. The Presidential Office has received over 400 requests for pardon, and Mr Klaus has so far settled dozens of them. Vaclav Klaus, elected president in February this year, has radically changed the method of decision-making on pardons. While his predecessor Vaclav Havel, often criticised for granting too many pardons, had consulted the Justice Ministry on them, and in some cases the Justice Ministry even decided itself, Mr Klaus says he wants to decide himself as the pardon is not a legal act correcting a court decision but a special act by the head of state.
A Czech mountaineer has died after his climbing party hit bad weather on a volcano in Russia's far east. Officials said the man had apparently died of head injuries. The man, who has not been named, was part of a group of 17 Czech climbers who became stranded on the Klyuchevskaya volcano. He died before a Russian team of rescuers was able to reach him. Four climbers are still trapped on the mountain, while the remaining 12 have returned safely to base camp. The party was climbing in Kamchatka, a peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean and home to some of the world's most spectacular active volcanoes.
The Czech Republic is to appeal once again to the European Union for permission to support an indebted steel products exporter, the Industry Ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry said it would advise the cabinet to continue in its efforts to inject two billion crowns into Trinecke Zelezarny, which is privately owned. The EU has expressed opposition to the plan, which was not mentioned in the Czech Republic's accession talks with the union.
President Vaclav Klaus has accepted the resignation of the justice minister, Pavel Rychetsky. Mr Rychetsky is stepping down in order to take up a position on the Constitutional Court. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, who has been having trouble finding a replacement for the outgoing minister, is currently fulfilling the role himself in a caretaker capacity.
The Czech Republic may run for elected membership of the UN Security Council in 2008-2009. The foreign ministry is working on a proposal, which is to be submitted to the government and discussed by the cabinet after its summer break. According to Jan Michal from the foreign ministry's UN department, two other unnamed Eastern European countries are planning to apply for UN Security Council membership. The Council has fifteen members - five permanent members and ten elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The Czech Republic has only been an elected member once - in 1994 and 1995.
The NATO command team, which is expected to take over control of ISAF forces in Afghanistan from Germany and the Netherlands on August 11, will have four Czech members. According to Czech deputy chief of staff Jaroslav Kolkus, the Czech Army is also preparing several more commanders, should they be asked to join the team. During a trip to Prague on Monday, the deputy chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff, General Peter Pace, said that the role of Czech troops in international operations such as in Bosnia, Kosovo, as well as Afghanistan, was indispensable. General Pace also discussed cooperation with NATO, the planned reform of the Czech Army and the involvement of Czech soldiers in peace-keeping operations.
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