The largest party in the governing coalition, the Social Democrats, has been thrown into turmoil by the news the head of its deputies group has threatened to step down if there is not more unity in the party. Petr Ibl said he was considering resigning because of his disgust at the situation within the party and recent criticism from chairman Stanislav Gross. The Social Democrats, who have been led by Mr Gross since the summer, have suffered defeats in various elections this year.
Frantisek Straka, who was dismissed this week as manager of Sparta Prague football club, has strenuously denied rumours he was fired for taking cocaine. Straka told a newspaper the allegations were nonsense, saying he was willing to undergo any kind of test to prove his innocence. His sacking came after Sparta did poorly in the European Champions League, but despite the fact the club was nine points ahead in the Czech league.
A man whose two Rottweiler dogs attacked an eight-year-old girl and her father last month has been arrested. The newspaper Pravo reported the girl would suffer permanent scarring as a result of the attack. If the dogs' owner is found responsible he could face up to two years in prison. The lower house this week rejected a bill which would have introduced tougher sentences for people whose dogs cause death or serious injury.
Two senior Prague police officers have been arrested by a team of inspectors from the Interior Ministry. But neither the Ministry nor the state prosecutor has revealed what crime the two are accused of. The daily Mlada fronta Dnes speculated they had been arrested in connection with an investigation into ties between the police and crime gangs.
The writer Arnost Lustig has been awarded the Vladislav Vancura Award for life-long achievement by the Czech Film and Television Union at a ceremony in the central Bohemian town of Beroun. Mr Lustig is a Holocaust survivor who studied journalism at Charles University before working for a time at Czech Radio. He has written numerous screenplays and novels and now teaches writing in the United States.
The police have retrieved a valuable Alfons Mucha painting that was stolen from a Slovak spa resort in 2002. The police found the painting in the possession of two men who were trying to sell it to Austrians in a Brno shopping centre for 95,000 Euros. They face prison sentences of up to five years for harbouring stolen property. Experts who examined the work of art said it was badly damaged.
The programming director of the commercial TV station Nova, Libuse Smuclerova, has resigned from her post in what is the first major personnel change at Nova after it was taken over again by the US company Central European Media Enterprises (CME). Ms Smuclerova declined to comment on the reason for her departure. She announced her decision at the company's Christmas party on Thursday. Ms Smuclerova was the right hand of former TV Nova CEO Vladimir Zelezny. She started working for TV Nova in 1993 and served as programming director since 1997.
The number of plaintiffs in the case against Bohumil Kulinsky, the director of the prestigious Bambini di Praga girls choir accused of sexual abuse, is growing. Kulinsky is accused of sexually abusing underage girls in the choir, something that allegedly went on for many years, and the police say that there have been over 100 complaints made against him so far. The police are questioning hundreds of girls, including those who left the choir years ago. One of the girls said Kulinsky has sex with her when she was only twelve. Kulinsky, who has been in detention for three weeks now, denies the charges. The Bambini di Praga girls choir is made up of girls aged 12 to 19. It performs with leading Czech and international orchestras and gives performances abroad several times a year.
The Czech prime minister, Stanislav Gross, has come down with a fever and is unable to attend a European Union summit in Brussels, at which a decision is to be made on whether to allow Turkey to begin accession talks. Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Martin Jahn is attending the conference instead of Mr Gross. But a spokesperson said it was possible the prime minister would be well enough to go to Brussels on Friday.
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