The Senate has approved a new bill under which Good Friday would be made a state holiday. One of the bill's backers Senator Martin Mejstrik said the Czech Republic was still a Christian country and should mark Good Friday. Neighbouring Slovakia made it a state holiday after the two countries split in 1993.
Sparta drew 1:1 with Ajax Amsterdam in Prague on Wednesday night in their first game in this season's Champions League. The Czech side took the lead through substitute Miroslav Matusovic on 66 minutes, and looked set to take all three points until Ajax equalised in time added on. Sparta's next Champions League game is away to Swiss club Thun in two weeks' time.
Jan Kavan, a former foreign minister, has been fined 30,000 crowns (over 1,000 US dollars) for failing to show up for a hearing at a Prague district court. He had been due to give evidence in the case of Lukas Kohout, who pretended to be Mr Kavan's assistant and flew around the world on government planes. If found guilty, Mr Kohout faces up to eight years in prison.
A call by the Bruntal branch of the Social Democrats for Stanislav Gross to resign as chairman has been described as harmful to the whole party by the prime minister, Jiri Paroubek. Mr Gross - who preceded Mr Paroubek as premier - has come under pressure over corruption allegations, but says he has no intention of stepping down.
Talks between representatives of the government, the trade unions and employers broke down on Thursday when the latter two groups walked out, saying they were dissatisfied with the government's approach to joint negotiations. The unions and employers say they received documents at the last minute, or after they had already been approved by the government. They have called for an extraordinary meeting of the tripartite, which they want Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek to attend.
Sternberk in north Moravia is set to remove Communist-era president Klement Gottwald from a list of people given honorary citizenship of the town. Some local people have been calling for the change since the list was published earlier this year. Gottwald was in office from 1948 to 1953, and died just nine day's after attending Stalin's funeral.
The Czech publishing house, Albatros, has announced that the official Czech version of the sixth instalment of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series is coming out on December 19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been in bookstores in the original English language since mid-July. A pirate Czech translation was available on the internet for a couple of weeks but taken off the web following complaints by Albatros, which has exclusive ownership rights to translations of J.K. Rowling's work.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and Finance Minister Bohumil Sobotka
are in disagreement over how to proceed with a controversial arbitration
case that could cost the state 40 billion crowns (over 1.5 billion US
dollars). A London court is currently handling a complaint against the
Czech Republic filed by the Japanese investment bank, Nomura. Nomura
claims that the Czech government failed to protect its investment when it
ordered the enforced administration of the ailing IPB bank, in which
Nomura had shares, and its subsequent sale to a rival Czech banking
institution, CSOB five years ago. Nomura is demanding 40 billion Czech
crowns in compensation.
From information received by the Czech intelligence services, Prime Minister Paroubek fears the state could lose the case and would like it to try to come to an agreement with Nomura. Mr Sobotka believes that any such agreement would violate state guarantees promised to CSOB in 2000.