The fourteenth annual Prague Writers' Festival gets underway on Sunday evening at the city's Minor theatre. Among those due to attend the opening is the South African Nobel prize-winning novelist Nadine Gordimer, who is the festival's special guest this year. Other guests include the German poet Hans Magnus Enzenberger, the American author Gary Shteyngart and Czech writer Eda Kriseova.
The case of former Communist era StB secret police agent Pavel Minarik is to be reopened, Czech Television reported on Saturday. He is accused of planning to bomb the headquarters of Radio Free Europe in the German city of Munich. Mr Minarik worked as an StB agent at the station from 1969 to 1976 and sent at least three proposals to carry out a bomb attack to his superiors in Prague, according to the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. His case has been in and out of the Czech courts for over a decade.
The singer Raduza has picked up three prizes at the Czech music industry's annual Andel, or Angel, awards. Raduza was named female singer of the year, new artist of the year and folk and country artist of the year at the ceremony in Prague on Saturday night. Male singer of the year was Dan Barta, Kabat were group of the year while singer-songwriter Jaromir Nohavica was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The government and opposition parties have agreed to set up a joint committee to create a long-term pension policy for the Czech Republic. A group of experts nominated by all five parties in the Chamber of Deputies should be formed by the middle of April, the prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, told reporters late on Saturday evening. He said the pension system needs to be reformed because of the Czech Republic's aging population and low birth rate.
Parts of the Czech Republic were hit by strong winds on Saturday night. A 133-kilometre-an-hour hurricane was recorded at the peak of the country's highest mountain, Snezka in east Bohemia. Firemen were called out to deal with roofs being blown off houses, while trees were blown down in some places. Meanwhile, heavy rains and thawing snow have led to flood alerts in east Bohemia as rivers in the area threaten to break their banks.
Speaking at a conference about the position of Belarus after European Union enlargement, former Czech president Vaclav Havel said Czech people had a special understanding of the type of problems being experienced in the country, which is known for human rights violations. Also attending the conference at the Czech Senate on Saturday was the Belarusian opposition leader Ivonka Surville; she said the Czech Republic was the leading promoter of her country's opposition on the international scene.
Culture Minister Pavel Dostal has presented the journalist and translator Antonin Jaroslav Liehm with the Artis Bohemiae Amicis award for services to Czech culture. Mr Liehm, who is 80, left Czechoslovakia in 1968 and worked with many international radio stations, as well as giving lectures at universities around Europe and the United States.
As demonstrations against the United States-led war on Iraq were held around the world, around 300 people gathered on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Saturday afternoon to express their opposition. After several anti-war speeches the demonstrators marched to the US embassy, where they held a minute's silence for the victims of the war.
The police have arrested a six-member gang equipped with 10 kilogrammes of explosives and detonators which can be set off by mobile telephones. The gang were also in possession of pistols, machine gun parts and over 7,000 pieces of ammunition, a police spokesperson said on Friday. The six - all Czech nationals - were arrested in west Bohemia on Wednesday. The interior minister, Stanislav Gross, said he did not believe there was any connection between the cache of explosives and weapons and international terrorism.
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