Former Czech President Vaclav Havel has been selected for this year's Gandhi Peace Prize for upholding human rights and world peace, the Indian Catholic wrote on Monday. The decision was taken by a five-member jury chaired by India's Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and including the opposition leader Sonia Gandhi, the Chief Justice of India, a former president and former prime minister. The prize is awarded every year for outstanding work and contribution to social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods. The former Czech president, playwright, and human rights activist will celebrate his 70th birthday on Thursday.
The minority cabinet of Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will ask the lower house of parliament for confidence on Tuesday, three months after the June general elections which produced a perfect split between the rightist and leftist blocs in the lower chamber. Both former PM Jiri Paroubek's Social Democrats and the Communists have pledged to reject the government in the vote. Owing to that the chances of Mirek Topolanek's cabinet receiving confidence from the chamber are slim. If it loses the vote, the cabinet will have to resign. In such a case, a new prime minister appointed by President Vaclav Klaus would put together a new cabinet which would again need to seek a majority support in the lower house.
Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych was beaten 13 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5) by Russia's Dmitry Tursunov in a rain-hit final at the Cricket Club of India courts at the Mumbai Open on Monday. The Mumbai final, which was put off on Sunday due to heavy rain, was twice interrupted by rain, the first time at 1-1 in the second set and then again at 5-5 in the third set. When play resumed the second time, Tursunov broke Berdych to lead 6-5 but the third-seeded Czech broke back immediately to force the match into the tie-breaker. Berdych, still looking for his first title this year after five appearances in the final, had won 15 of his last 19 matches but failed to deliver when it mattered most.
Police statistics state that the past weekend was thus far the most tragic one on Czech roads this year. A total of 16 people died in car accidents across the country on Saturday and Sunday. The month of September saw 90 people killed in automobile accidents; thus far September and June share the record for the most tragic months of the year. A total of 672 people were killed on Czech roads during the first nine months of the year. A marked drop in the number of fatal accident was recorded in July after a new and stricter traffic law came into force, however the figures started rising again in August.
The Czech state-run carrier Czech Airlines has said it will sell its catering service and a cargo terminal at the Prague Ruzyne international airport. The move is part of recently launched cost-cutting measures, the airline said in a statement. The company said it hopes to receive offers from possible buyers this year and to choose the winning bidder in February 2007. Czech Airlines posted a net loss of 773 million crowns (34.54 million USD; 27.28 million euros) in the first half of the year. Last month the struggling state-controlled carrier asked its main shareholder, the finance ministry, for a cash injection of about 2 billion crowns but denied speculation of impending bankruptcy.
Former Health Minister David Rath has said that one deputy for the Social Democrats may not be present for health reasons at Tuesday's crucial confidence vote in the minority government of Civic Democrat Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. Her absence could seriously affect the vote as the opposition leftist bloc has exactly the same number of MPs in the chamber as the centre-right parties. However, Prime Minister Topolanek said on Monday he himself would not take part in the vote if an opposition MP should be absent for reasons of ill health.
The Zlin Zoo in southeast Moravia is in the final stages of preparing to open a new exhibit devoted to the animals and flora of the Central American rainforests. The new zoo pavilion is named Yucatan, and cost roughly 80 million crowns ($3.5 million US) to build. About 300 different types of Central American flora re-create a rainforest, and the Yucatan pavilion will integrate animal and plant life with an exhibit detailing the culture and life of the lost Mayan civilization. A spokesman for Zlin's zoo says that the opening ceremony for the new pavilion will take place in mid-October. Zoo Lesna, just outside of the city of Zlin, celebrates its 200 year anniversary in 2006. The zoo houses around 200 animal species and covers an area of 42 hectares.
Police statistics state that Saturday, September 30 was thus far the most tragic day on Czech roads this year. A total of 12 people died in car accidents across the country on Saturday. Five Polish citizens alone died near Prostejov, Moravia, on Saturday when their vehicle crashed into a stationary long-haul truck. The month of September saw 90 people killed in automobile accidents; thus far September and June share the record for the most tragic months of the year. A total of 672 people were killed on Czech roads during the first nine months of the year.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel says that he would welcome the Czech
Republic gaining a new constitution within four to six years. Mr. Havel
made the remarks during an interview on Sunday's TV program, Otazky
Vaclava Moravce. Vaclav Havel said he wants to see a constitution that
would be "brief, concise, and sensible," such that children
could learn it in schools, and one that would inject greater fairness into
the electoral system. The former president also expressed his disapproval
for the recent post-election developments, saying that it took
unnecessarily long to name Mirek Topolanek prime minister—according to Mr.
Havel, Mr. Topolanek could have been named within days after the June
Mr. Havel also commented on the future of the European Union, saying that it must define itself not only in terms of common values, but also recognize its own geographic limits. The former president used New Zealand as an example of a country with "greater European values than some EU members," though it is beyond the EU zone. According to Mr. Havel, future EU expansion could include Turkey which has "one foot in Europe" and is an ally of Europe's, as well as the Balkan states, Ukraine, and Belarus. Mr. Havel was clear in drawing a line at these eastern states, thus excluding Russia, which he indicated belongs to another culture.
The extended TV interview with Vaclav Havel aired just days before the former president, playwright, and human rights activist celebrates his 70th birthday.
The new Miss World, Tatana Kucharova, is the first Czech woman ever to win the crown. Eighteen year-old Ms. Kucharova was crowned Miss World 2006 this weekend in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The runners-up were second-place Miss Romania Ioana Valentina Boitorova, and third-place Miss Australia Sabrina Houssami. Speaking after the ceremony, Ms. Kucharova said that it is "one of the most beautiful moments" of her life; she also told reporters that she is looking forward to traveling across the globe during the coming year, conducting charity work. 104 women from across the glove competed in the Miss World contest.