Opponents of a proposed US radar base in the Czech Republic have announced
that they will be holding an international demonstration against the
construction of the facility in the Brdy region, the projected location of
the base. A spokeswoman for the "No to Bases" movement said that
the protest will take place on 20 October and that delegations from Great
Britain, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Switzerland,
Belgium, Germany, the United States and Sweden would be attending the
event. Invitees include the mayor of Hiroshima Tadatoshi Akiba and the
mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
The proposed US radar base in the central Bohemian Brdy region is intended as part of a American missile defence system aimed at countering possible attacks from so-called rogue states such as Iran. Polls show that a majority of Czechs are against the proposal even though it has the tentative support of the centre-right government. A final decision on the base is expected early next year.
Five people were injured following an explosion on a bus on Strelnicna Street in Prague 8. A spokeswoman for the Prague transport authority said that five women were treated in hospital for scald burns after a cooler on a public bus they were travelling on suddenly exploded. The Prague transport authority is investigating the cause of the incident.
Celebrations have been held at Prague's Lucerna Cinema near Wenceslas Square to mark the 100th anniversary of the first ever Czech cinema. The celebrations included screenings of silent films from the early 1900s. Prague's first cinema was opened by the magician Viktor Ponrepo on Karlova Street near the Charles Bridge on 15 September 1907. The Lucerna Cinema, which was the venue for the celebrations, is only two years younger. It opened in 1909 and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Europe.
An advisor to the Ministry of Education has said that the food served to
children in Czech schools could change within the framework of proposed
reforms to the education system. Educational consultant David Bartusek has
said that in addition to offering parents different education programmes
for their children, schools may soon be offering alternative healthy meals
on their menus as well.
The food served in school dinners is currently set by a ministerial decree. Critics say that the food prescribed by the legislation has too much fat and an unhealthy surfeit of protein, which could be a contributory factor in rising obesity levels.
Brno's municipal waste-management firm SAKO is being investigated by the
Office for the Protection of Economic Competition (UOHS) in connection with
a tender it held for the reconstruction of an incineration plant in the
Moravian capital, according to Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes. It was the
fourth tender announced by SAKO for the reconstruction of the plant, which
is expected to cost as much as 2.25 billion CZK (113 million USD). The
first three tenders were cancelled by the waste-management firm itself and
the allocation of the fourth has now been delayed for around a year after
one of the unsuccessful bidders lodged a complaint with the UOHS.
The Brno incineration plant has been in need of refurbishment for several years now. Brno's municipal authorities want to obtain funds from the EU to finance part of the project
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said on Saturday evening that
negotiations with US representatives on the construction of a proposed
American radar base were proceeding without any major problems after
holding talks with a delegation from the US Congress on the issue. He also
said that a number of obstacles to the negotiations had been removed
although he declined to elaborate.
The US delegation, headed by Democratic congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, also met with the deputy prime minister Alexander Vondra and the head of the opposition Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek. Earlier, Ms Tauscher had said that the proposed US missile defence system involving a radar base in the Czech Republic and an interceptor missile facility in Poland must be fully incorporated into NATO and it must protect both Europe and the United States.
The proposed US facilities are intended as part of a missile defence system aimed at countering possible attacks from so-called rogue states such as Iran. Polls show that a majority of Czechs are against the proposal even though it has the tentative support of the centre-right government. A final decision on the base is expected early next year.
Jet-ski owners symbolically blocked the Vltava River in Prague for several minutes on Saturday afternoon in protest against a planned amendment to the law on inland navigation, which would ban certain vessels from water courses, including jet-skis. The protesters were also demonstrating against a proposal to introduce charges for recreational navigation on the country's waterways, which has been free up to now.
Around 300 Czech police and other members of the security forces protested
in the centre of Prague on Saturday in protest at the so-called
"Service Law". The demonstration was organised by police unions,
who claim that the law, which has been in effect since the start of the
year, leaves many police officers worse off. Their principal grievances
include the fact that the law abolished many bonus payments for overtime
work and for working on state holidays and weekends. The Czech Minister for
the Interior Ivan Langer denies that the law has had a detrimental effect
on police salaries and maintains that the wages of 94 percent of police
officers have increased since the legislation was introduced.
The turnout was a lot lower than expected, but protest organisers claim that the attendance would have been much higher if some police had not been assigned to a special traffic-safety operation. They also said that the number of people protesting was also affected by the fact that a lot of extra police were on duty amid security concerns surrounding a first-division football match between Slavia Prague and Banik Ostrava on Saturday evening.
Two people have died after the ultra-light airplane they were flying in crashed into a field near the west Bohemian town of Varnsdorf. The plane's two passengers - a man and a woman aged between 60 and 70 years of age - were found dead at the scene. Police are currently investigating the causes of the crash.
US Democrat Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher said on Friday that a proposed US
missile defence system involving radar and missile bases in the Czech
Republic and Poland must be fully incorporated into NATO and it must
protect both Europe and the United States.
Ms Tauscher made her comments in Prague after heading a three-member Congressional delegation, which had talks with Czech politicians on the US plan to station a radar base in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Congressmen Jim Cooper (Democrats) and Michael Turner (Republicans) were the other two members of the delegation. Apart from Prague, the American politicians also visited Warsaw and Brussels.
Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar said he welcomed the fact that the US Congress preferred the missile defence shield to be connected with NATO. The American delegation said that the Democrats and the Republicans clearly agreed on the need for the anti-missile system.
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