The mayor of Prague, Pavel Bem, has descended to his base camp after
reaching the top of Mount Everest on Friday, his assistant said on
Sunday, adding that he has completed the most demanding part of the
climb. Mr Bem, a senior figure in the Civic Democratic Party, became
the tenth Czech to reach the world's highest peak. He was criticised
both inside and outside his party for taking two months leave from his
post as mayor of Prague.
Earlier this week, a Czech mountaineer, whose name remains unknown, died during the ascent of Mount Everest. According to the Foreign Ministry, the time and circumstances of the death of the 47-year-old Czech man are unclear. According to available information, he was the sole Czech in an international expedition and he died at a camp at 8,300 metres above sea level.
US missile defence experts have finished examining the location of a planned US radar site in the Brdy military zone southwest of Prague. According to the Czech Defence Ministry, the 38-member team focused mainly on the hydrological and geological conditions in the area and the local transport infrastructure. The chief-of-staff of the Czech armed forces, Vlastimil Picek, said the exact location of the planned radar installation is still unknown but he said it will be built at a minimum distance of five kilometres from the nearest house.
A painting by the abstract artist Frantisek Kupka broke the local auction record for a work by a Czech painter when it was sold for 13.4 million crowns (around 643,000 dollars) at a Prague auction on Sunday. The starting price for the work, "Abstract Composition," was 8.5 million crowns. The previous record for a Czech painting auctioned locally was set last December when a collector paid 9.3 million crowns for a work by Josef Capek, who was a cubist before developing his own primitive style in the 1920's and 1930's.
Around 2,000 people including President Vaclav Klaus gathered at the National Cemetery in Terezin on Sunday to commemorate all those imprisoned at the local Nazi concentration camp and the Gestapo prison during WWII. Between 1941 and 1945, some 155,000 Jews from all over Europe were imprisoned at Terezin; 117,000 of them did not live to see the end of the war.
According to data released by the Labour Ministry, over 127,000 citizens of other EU countries are currently working in the Czech Republic, which is a 23-percent increase compared to last year. Most of them work in healthcare and education as well as industry. The largest groups are the citizens of Slovakia, Poland and Germany. In April, close to 200,000 foreigners worked legally in the Czech Republic. According to estimates, another tens of thousands are employed illegally.
Education Minister Dana Kuchtova says the case of eight-year old Ondrej who was severely abused by his mother has highlighted loopholes in the law on home schooling. In a live TV debate on Sunday, the minister said she plans to tighten the terms under which parents are allowed to teach their own children. Under current legislation, these children are examined once every term; Minister Kuchtova would like to make the examinations more frequent. She pointed out the Education Ministry was not able to prevent what happened to Ondrej. He did not go to school, allegedly due to his hearing impairment. Another child living in the family, a 13-year old girl with no legal identity who is now missing, did not attend school either.
Juventus's Czech midfield star Pavel Nedved will decide by the end of June whether to end his top flight football career, the CTK news agency reported on Sunday. The former Czech captain's contract runs out next year. The 34-year-old Czech added that he felt he owed Junventus a debt this season to get them back into Italy's top flight after the famous Turin club was demoted to the second division following a match fixing scandal. Nedved moved to Italy from Sparta Prague in 1996, playing for Lazio Rome before his move to Juventus.
The chairmen of the lower house and the Senate, Miloslav Vlcek and Premysl Sobotka, will meet their EU counterparts next week to discuss the future of the European constitutional treaty and reforms of the block. The conference of parliament speakers from EU member states will be held on May 26th and 27th in the Slovak capital Bratislava. The participants are also expected to discuss the roles and positions of national parliaments in EU countries and the issue of national versus European identity.
Prague Archbishop, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, remains the head of the Czech Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI has not accepted a resignation Cardinal Vlk tendered prior to reaching 75 years of age. The Pope's decision was announced after a mass in St Vitus Cathedral on Saturday morning. Miloslav Vlk became Prague Archbishop in 1991; in November 1994 he was appointed Cardinal.
Belarus opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich praised former Czech president Vaclav Havel and fellow activists for helping to prevent Minsk gain a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council, the CTK news agency reported on Friday. Mr Milinkevich said special thanks were due to Mr Havel, to the Czech branch of the Human Rights Watch, the Czech NGO People in Need and to Civic Belarus, after Minsk's bid for a seat was defeated in a vote on Thursday. Mr Havel called for UN countries to reject Belarus's candidacy, saying that its own human rights record was "a source of constant concern" and that its bid represented "an insult to all Belarussians passionate about liberty." Vaclav Havel, a former leader of the Velvet Revolution that toppled communism in former Czechoslovakia in 1989, is a member of the Civic Belarus association. The playwright has been a constant critic of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, sometimes dubbed "Europe's last dictator."
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