The head of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, has called on Civic Democrat prime minister Mirek Topolanek to resign, following the launching of an investigation into alleged fraud at a company formerly co-owned by Mr Topolanek. It was reported on Friday that the police were looking into allegations the prime minister and his then partners in the firm VAE obtained a 67-million-crown loan (3 million USD) from a bank but did not repay it in its entirety. Mr Topolanek says the investigation does not concern him directly.
The Czech Republic and the other nine countries which joined the European
Union in 2004 face a delay of at least a year before borders with the EU's
15 other states are opened, according to a European Commission report
quoted by Reuters. The EU had previously planned to let the 10 states into
its border-free Schengen area in October 2007 - the European Commission now
says technical and legal problems will probably mean that Schengen will not
be expanded until October 2008.
The Czech Republic and a number of other countries had called earlier in the week for the original timetable to be respected.
A Czech man has been sentenced to life in prison in the United States for the brutal murder of his Brazilian girlfriend last year. A court in Denver ruled that 23-year-old Martin Novotny, who gave himself up to police hours after the killing, must serve the whole term. Czech consul Tomas Kadlec said he was surprised by the severity of the sentence.
The minister of defence, Jiri Sedivy, believes it would be better for
the Czech Republic to take part in a United States anti-missile defence
system as part of NATO, rather than with the US alone. Speaking in
Saturday's Pravo, Mr Sedivy said if the system was developed through
NATO it could increase the cohesion of the alliance in the long term.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's ambassador to NATO, Stefan Fule, said the US was apparently going to decide on the most suitable location for a proposed base in central Europe after a NATO summit in November. US military experts have visited potential sites in the Czech Republic, though Poland is also in the running to host the base.
American pop star Madonna has wrapped-up her stay in Prague with a second sell-out concert at Sazka Arena on Thursday night. The daily Pravo reports that former Czech president Vaclav Havel and his stepdaughter Nina were the only people from outside of Madonna's immediate circle to partake in the star's traditional pre-concert prayer before the opening show on Wednesday. Mr Havel's spokesman said he was moved by the prayer service, and did not find the concert performance offensive. Madonna has been heavily criticized by Christian groups for symbolism used in her 'Confessions Tour' show.
The European Union is asking the Czech Republic and six other EU states to raise the sales tax on beer. The increase would equal about one-fifth of the current tax rate and come into effect sometime between 2008 and 2010. Brussels is suggesting the change because EU analysts say that beer prices have not been affected by general inflation in recent years, and experts say higher prices are also a way to combat alcoholism. Czech brewery owners are opposed to the proposal.
The Czech Republic's first Internet-only newspaper, Aktualne.cz, is expanding into neighbouring Slovakia later this month, on September 19. Aktualne.cz began in November 2005 and registered an average of 140 000 daily hits in its first seven months of existence. With the rapid spread of broadband and wireless access in the Czech Republic, about 3.6 million Czechs (roughly one-third of the population) are regular users of the Internet.
Czech tourist killed by shark in Egypt
Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan killed by suicide bomber
Prague exhibition brings August 1968 invasion to life
Heatwave continues to put pressure on businesses, individuals alike
Precious Renaissance shield looted by Nazis to return to Czech Republic from US