Sixteen Roma organisations have put forward an official protest calling on Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to distance himself from statements by his Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek published on Friday. Asked in the Friday edition of the Czech tabloid Blesk whether others could receive state subsidies similar to those received by the Roma, Mr Cunek replied they would "have to get a suntan somewhere, start trouble and light fires on town squares" to get some politicians to feel sorry for them. Roma activists say that Mr Cunek has crossed the limits of social acceptability through his statements, and have described his approach to Roma issues as "clerical fascism." Aside from being a deputy prime minister, Mr Cunek is also the head of the Christian Democratic Party.
The Czech environment minister, Martin Bursik, has proposed a change to a European Union waste directive aimed at preventing the transport of waste across the EU for incineration. Mr Bursik put his ideas to his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, at a meeting in Prague on Thursday. Germany holds the EU presidency and Mr Gabriel said it was trying to find consensus on the issue. The dumping and incineration of rubbish from Germany in the Czech Republic has been a source of some controversy. A decision on the final form of the EU waste directive will be made in June. Meanwhile, Mr Bursik and Mr Gabriel said their two countries would work together on the formulation of a scheme to support alternative sources of energy. Czechs experts will also study Germany's experience in this field.
Police have confirmed that a suspicious item discovered by employees at City Hall in Brno, Moravia, on Friday was an explosive device. Workers uncovered the item in a briefcase at the city hall's "Lost & Found" shortly after 10 am. The authorities were then contacted. Four hundred people were evacuated while specialists and specially-trained sniffer dogs moved in. No one is reported to have been hurt in the incident. The bomb was removed safely and taken to a lab for investigation. Police are not yet certain about the exact contents of the device but have said they will release new information on Monday.
Police have completed their investigation into the death of composer Karel Svoboda and confirmed beyond doubt it was a case of suicide. On Friday a police spokeswoman revealed the latest news on the Internet. Police shelved their investigation into possible foul play after chemical, biomechanical, and ballistics tests, as well as an earlier autopsy, all confirmed the 68-year-old Svoboda took his own life using a personal firearm. He was found dead outside his home in late-January. Two police officers who arrived at the scene were later charged for trying to sell photographs of the deceased to a Czech tabloid.
The Czech Defence Ministry has revealed that US specialists on anti-missile defence will begin a five-day visit to the Czech Republic on Monday. The experts will be in the Czech Republic to further assess further technical specifications for a possible US radar base in the Brdy military zone in Central Bohemia. Earlier this week, the US began negotiations with the Czech government on the possibility of the Czech Republic hosting such a base, which would be part of a broader defence shield, including a rocket base in Poland. Negotiations between the US and the Czech Republic are expected to continue until the end of the year.
Representatives for the Office of the President and the Metropolitan
chapter of the
Catholic Church have reached an agreement on the joint-administration of
Prague's landmark St Vitus's Cathedral. Following several weeks of
negotiations, both sides have agreed that the Church will transfer St
Vitus's back to the state on April 16th. The decision follows the Supreme
Court's recent ruling returning the cathedral and related property to
Prague Castle, the latest chapter in a long drawn-out legal battle. On
Friday, spokesman for the President's Office Jiri Weigl indicated that
while the state retained ownership for now, both sides agreed on the
Church handling day-to-day administration of the site, namely overseeing
the cathedral's interior.
As of April 5th visitors will not be required to pay an entrance fee to view the main site.
In ice hockey action on Thursday Czech forward Milan Hejduk racked up one goal and one assist for his team the Colorado Avalanche, helping down Phoenix 4:3. The game was a "must-win" for Colorado as the regular NHL season draws closer to wrapping up. Colorado still have a slim chance of making the playoffs to compete for the Stanley Cup. Currently the team trails Calgary - in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference - by 7 points. Colorado has five games left to play.
Environment Minister Martin Bursik has dismissed Sumava National Park director Alois Pavlicko appointing the former director's deputy head in his place. The environment minister said on Friday that the change in the post was part of an effort to implement a new management style at Sumava National Park that would guarantee better nature conservation along international standards. Mr Bursik has made clear he expects that Sumava National Park's new management will cooperate more closely with local municipalities on local issues including the promotion of tourism.
One of China's leading TV manufacturers, Sichuan Changhong Electric Co., has opened a production facility in the central Bohemian town of Nymburk. The project, which was inaugurated on Wednesday, is the first overseas production base wholly owned by a Chinese home electrical appliance enterprise. The 15-million-dollar project has a designed annual production capacity of one million sets, mostly flat-panel and high-definition TVs. The company aims to gradually expand the production to also include air conditioners, refrigerators, cellphones and set-top boxes, in order to sell all Changhong products in Europe.