The organiser of a private techno party in the Czech town of Uzenicíce na Strakonicku has apologised to his fellow townsfolk after around 5000 guests gatecrashed the event of Friday. Meanwhile, a number of techno parties have been taking place across the country on Saturday with no reports of serious problems. Techno parties have been in the headlines ever since an allegedly brutal crackdown by police on a festival known as CzechTek in 2005.
Protesters illegally camped out in the closed military area in the region of Brdy, destined to become the site of a US radar base have been visited by two Czech MPs. The MPs from the opposition Social Democrats Josef Řihák and Jan Hamáček entered the closed area, despite the fact that the latter lacked the required paperwork to legally be allowed to visit the area. The MPs stated that the visit was both to evaluate the area and to lend their support to the protesters. Greenpeace activists have been at the site since Monday, demonstrating against the building of the US radar base in this relatively pristine area of Czech wilderness.
The Czech ice-hockey team has gotten off to a strong start in the world ice-hockey championships taking place in Quebec, Canada. The opening match against Denmark got off to a poor start for the Czechs, when they conceded a goal after 31 seconds. However, they came back to win the match 5:2. The next match on Sunday against Russia is expected to prove to be a far greater test for the Czech team.
Several Czech trade unions have begun to offer to compensate workers for sick leave, which due to government reforms is now unpaid for the first three days. According to a report in the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny, a trade union in the Czech town of Žďár nad Sázavou will pay its members a compensatory salary of 500 crowns for the three days of sick leave. The paper also notes that this and similar tactics are helping to increase trade union membership in the country. The Czech Constitutional Court recently struck down the government’s introduction of unpaid sick leave, which will be rescinded by the summer.
An employee of the Czech electricity company ČEZ has been charged with defrauding the company and its customers out of hundreds of thousands of crowns. The man, who worked at a telephone advice centre in the eastern Czech town of Plzeň is believed to have used his position to alter the bank details of clients in the company’s computer system in order to transfer refunds by the company to their customers into the accounts of his accomplices - which are believed to have shared the money. If convicted, the man faces up to eight years in jail.
Drivers on the Czech motorway R10 which connects Prague with the town of Stará Boleslav had a series of accidents believed to have been caused by hailstones in the area earlier on Saturday. The resulting pileups have caused delays and headaches for traffic police. So far, the police have documented four separate accidents in a region hit by hailstones, which cause reduced visibility, but have reported no serious injuries.
A special plane from Kabul carrying the remains of a Czech soldier killed in fighting in Afghanistan has arrived in the Czech Republic. Also on the plane were four other Czech soldiers who were wounded in Afghanistan. Waiting in Prague to greet the plane were several Czech dignitaries including the Foreign and Defence ministers. The fallen Czech soldier was killed on Wednesday following a bomb attack in the province of Logar, south-east of Kabul, which targeted a Czech reconstruction team. In March, a military policeman became the first Czech combat casualty of the modern era when he was killed in a suicide attack in Helmand province. Last year another Czech soldier died in Afghanistan in an accident caused by flooding.
Several mothers of the victims of convicted child molester Bohumil Kulinský have announced that they will form an NGO to highlight what they believe was an excessively lenient sentence given to the disgraced former choirmaster. Mr Kulinský was convicted in April of sexually abusing around 40 of his female pupils, but received only a three year suspended sentence. In part, this was due to what the court believed was the good work of Mr Kulinský in promoting the name of the Czech Republic. Several mothers of the victims, who were outraged by the verdict, have announced that they will use their organisation to highlight the case in the international media.
Around one hundred people gathered at the National cemetery in Terezín,
north of Prague, to commemorate the victims of the last execution carried
out in the Gestapo-run in Terezín’s Little Fortress in 1945. The 51
members of various resistance groups were executed 63 years ago in the
Gestapo prison in what was the largest execution in the history of
Terezín. More than 150,000 people passed through the Terezín ghetto
between 1941 and 1945 and some 35,000 people died there. The rest were sent
on to Nazi camps in the east, where most of them perished. After the war,
Terezín’s Little Fortress was turned into a wartime memorial.
Over 800 bronze name plates bearing the names of wartime victims were recently stolen from the gravestones at the national cemetery in Terezín and were later found to have been sold as scrap metal. The damage that the Holocaust memorial suffered is thought to have run into millions of crowns, all of the bronze plates were found broken into pieces. The memorial hopes to replace the name plates by May 18, the day commemorating the victims of Nazi persecution.
A US Senate committee has agreed to a request from President George W. Bush to fund US missile defense installations in the Czech Republic and neighbouring Poland. The Armed Service Committee of the Senate unanimously agreed to “fully authorize” both a proposed tracking radar in the Czech Republic and an interceptor site in Poland as part of a 2009 fiscal bill. The proposal must still be approved by the full Senate and the House of Representatives. The US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was scheduled to arrive in Prague on May 5 to sign an agreement paving the way for the US radar on Czech soil, but her visit was postponed until June.
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