A memorial plaque was unveiled in Prague on Thursday afternoon in honour
of the late journalist Pavel Tigrid, one of the most influential Czech
personalities of the 20th century. The plaque will be mounted on the wall
of the Old Jewish Cemetery, in the street where Mr Tigrid lived until his
death in 2003. Among people attending the unveiling ceremony will be Czech
President Vaclav Klaus, his predecessor Vaclav Havel and Tigrid's wife
Pavel Tigrid is best known for his work as a journalist and broadcaster in exile during the Cold War. He established and for a number of years headed the Czechoslovak section of Radio Free Europe. He subsequently moved to Paris, where he set up and published a magazine called Svedectvi (Witness). After the Velvet Revolution, Pavel Tigrid returned to Czechoslovakia where he worked as a Minister for Culture and later as an adviser to President Havel.
The fugitive Czech-born businessman Viktor Kozeny has been released by a court in the Bahamas, after a United States request for his extradition was rejected, the Novinky website reported. Mr Kozeny, nicknamed the Pirate of Prague, is wanted in the US in connection with large-scale fraud connected with a deal to buy out state ownership of the oil industry in Azerbaijan. He is also wanted in the Czech Republic for fraud linked to the 1990s "coupon" privatisation process. A lawyer for Mr Kozeny, Philip Davis, told The Bahama Journal that his client was now free to move about the Bahamas, just as he had done for thirteen years.
Some 2,500 people were evacuated this morning from Prague's Hilton Hotel, the largest hotel in the country, and surrounding buildings due to a gas leak from a broken pipeline in a nearby ditch. The gas got into the hotel through its air-conditioning system. According to fire service spokesmen Vit Pernica, it has been the largest evacuation in Prague since the disastrous floods in 2002.
An expert team made of architects, conservationists and lawyers was set up
to look for a solution to the dispute over the planned construction of a
new Czech national library building in Prague, designed by Czech-born
British architect Jan Kaplicky. Prague's mayor Pavel Bem said the main task
of the team will be to find a more suitable site for the library. The team
is expected to arrive at a decision within two or three months.
The building, nicknamed "the Blob", was the winning entry in an international competition earlier this year. It has become the centre of heated debate after it came to light the project would be blocked by assembly members from the Civic Democratic Party at City Hall.
A municipal policeman from the east Bohemian town of Pardubice is an active neo-Nazi, Nova TV reported on Wednesday. The Anti-fascist Action group has acquired some photos on which the policeman is depicted in Nazi uniforms and under swastika. The policeman will be dismissed from the police at the end of October. According to the TV, it couldn't be ruled out that more police officers were involved in the case.
The foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four called on Thursday on Burma to release political prisoner, including dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg read out the statement to journalists. The foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia also called on Burma to provide complete information on the fate of the Buddhist monks and democratic activists in connection with the recent repressive measures taken in the country.
Russian inspectors might be able to check the assembly and operation of
the U.S. radar base in Brdy military area, Czech Prime Minister Mirek
Topolanek indicated in an interview for Czech Television. Mr Topolanek said
that the cooperation would improve relations between US and Russia. He
added, however, that no Russian soldiers will be permanently present at the
Earlier this week, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates mentioned the possibility of Russian presence at the Czech radar facility in order to overcome Russian hostility to its European anti-missile shield. He added that the agreement wouldn't be signed without Czech consent. The US offer to allow a Russian presence at the planned American radar base in the Czech Republic has been criticised by the Czech left-wing opposition as well as by number of government politicians.
Czech customs officers have registered increased amount of cocaine
smuggled to the Czech Republic during this year. Prior to Thursday, they
have seized almost 27 kilograms of the drug, which is four times more than
for the whole of last year. According to the Czech Customs Administration,
the Czech Republic is becoming a target country for cocaine and Czechs
often participate in its illegal import.
Earlier this year, Czech police and anti-drugs groups have warned that use of cocaine is on the rise. One gram of cocaine now costs around 2000 CZK (100 USD), which is much cheaper than in the past. Despite the rise in the drug's popularity, the number of addicts seeking treatment is still extremely low. Since 1997, only 0.5% of those being treated for drug addiction in the Czech Republic have been addicted to cocaine.
A documentary film about the former president entitled Obcan Havel (Citizen Havel) is to go on release in Czech cinemas from the end of January, a spokesperson for its distributors said. The original director Pavel Koutecky died during the making of the film; it was subsequently completed by Miroslav Janek.
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