The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, has said he believes a key
European Union summit next week will reach agreement on the outlines of a
new treaty on running the 27-member organisation. Speaking after talks
near Berlin on Sunday with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Mr
Topolanek said Prague would only veto efforts to revive the same
constitution French and Dutch voters rejected two years ago.
The Czech prime minister also restated his country's desire to see some powers returned from Brussels to member states. On Thursday the Czech Republic sent a proposal to fellow member states aimed at increasing the powers of national parliaments. However, it stopped short of proposing that national governments be allowed to completely block European legislation.
Czech leaders have consistently expressed reservations about any EU constitution. Prague is also supporting Poland's fight to prevent bigger states losing some voting rights.
Over 100,000 people visited museums and galleries around Prague on Saturday during an annual event entitled Museum Night. Twenty-one institutions - including the new Museum of Charles Bridge- opened their doors, free of charge, at 7 pm special free buses ferried people between the museums and galleries.
A group of artists infiltrated the broadcasting of Czech Television on Sunday morning, superimposing a nuclear mushroom cloud on live shots of a scenic area in east Bohemia. A spokesperson for Czech TV said the station would take action against the group Ztohoven, who added their own internet address to the doctored images. They managed to sabotage the programme Panorama by tampering with a TV camera at Cerny Dul in the Krkonose Mountains.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a
woman claiming to be Barbora Skrlova has appeared at the Czech embassy in
Copenhagen. The thirty-two-year-old woman is thought to have masqueraded
as a thirteen-year-old girl known as Anna, who had been taken into care
along with the rest of her family in a highly publicised child-abuse case.
"Anna" escaped from the children's home where she was staying a
short while later. Police investigations during the subsequent nationwide
search for "Anna" revealed that she was probably not in fact a
13-year-old girl but a diminutive 32-year-old woman identified as Barbora
Skrlova. It is thought that Skrlova pretended to be a child in order to be
adopted by Klara Mauerova, a woman who has been charged with abusing her
7-year-old son Ondrej, who was kept bound and naked in a dark room. It is
believed that Ms Skrlova lived with Mauerova's family as Ondrej's
stepsister for several weeks and could have crucial information relating
to the abuse case.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs said that the woman had provided the embassy in Copenhagen with a hair sample, which had been sent back to the Czech Republic for DNA tests.
Czech tennis star Tomas Berdych has progressed to the final of the ATP Halle tournament in Germany. The twenty-one-year-old beat Finnish player Jarkka Nieminen in straight sets 7:6 a 6:4 in Saturday's first semi-final. He will now play either Phillipe Kohlschreiber or Marcos Baghdatis on Sunday for the third title of his career and prize money worth 96,000 US dollars.
A policeman from the economic crime unit in Brno has been arrested on suspicion of downloading pornographic images of children and subsequently distributing them by email according to Lidove noviny. The paper reports that police had been searching for the man after he accidentally left a USB disk with child porn images and photographs of himself in civilian clothing in a computer at an internet café. He was then recognised by chance by one of the investigating officers who passed him in the corridor of Brno police headquarters.
TV Prima has reported that the father of Ondrej, who is at the centre of a highly publicised abuse case, can be seen by his father despite a police ban on family visits. The director of the children's home where Ondrej is staying told the station that they would be allowing the father to make brief visits. Ondrej's mother Klara Mauerova is being charged with abusing the boy by locking him naked and bound in a small dark room, whilst making him eat off the floor and use a bucket as a toilet. His father, who is now divorced from Ondrej's mother, has not been charged with any abuse, but police had wanted to prevent him from seeing the boy for fear that he might influence him with regard to the case. Klara Mauerova faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty of the abuse. Ondrej's aunt Katerina Mauerova has also been charged with abusing the boy and faces up to 8 years in prison if convicted.
Czech kayaker Stepanka Hilgertova has won a bronze medal in the water slalom event at the European Championships in the Slovak town of Liptovský Mikulá. The two-time Olympic champion finished behind Austrian Violetta Oblingerová-Petersová and German Mandy Planertova to win her sixth European medal. In addition, to her two Olympic golds, Hilgertova has now won one gold, two silver and two bronze European Championship medals.
Prague City Court has ordered President Vaclav Klaus to make a decision regarding the possible appointment of trainee judge Petr Langer to a post on the judiciary. Mr Langer had taken the president to court after he was one of 32 trainee judges whom President Klaus refused to appoint to judicial posts in March last year because they were under 30 and he considered them too young for such responsibilities. The president now has to make a decision in Langer's case within six months. If he again refuses to appoint him as a judge, he must cite legal grounds for doing so. Mr Langer will turn 30 in July.
In related news, Saturday's edition of Lidove Noviny contains an interview with the woman in Copenhagen claiming to be Barbara Skrlova. In the interview she admits to having pretended to be Anna, the stepsister of Ondrej, the seven-year-old boy at the centre of the abuse case, but that another girl had stood in for her when DNA tests were being done during police investigations. She told the paper that she had hidden in a forest after escaping from the children's home where she had been staying before taking a train to Denmark. She also said she did not want to return to the Czech Republic as she was afraid of how people would react to her behaviour. Lidove noviny said that during the interview Skrlova acted like a child and seemed much younger than thirty two. She also bizarrely referred to both Anna and Barbara Skrlova in the third person.
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