Documents prepared by the Czech Communist Party ahead of its conference on the 17 May, could get the party into serious trouble, according to media reports. The controversy surrounds revolutionary statements which are similar in nature to that proclaimed by the Communist Youth Union, which was outlawed by a Czech court in October 2006. Both organisations proclaim that capitalism must be overturned to make way for socialism or communism. The Communist Youth Union was outlawed because of the seemingly revolutionary and violent methods it was advocating in order to achieve this goal - which the court ruled were unconstitutional. However, the Czech Communist Party is more cautious, insisting that its path towards this stated goal remains peaceful and democratic. However, observers note that the communists could ultimately end up before a court tasked with determining whether the party should be outlawed.
A new poll for Czech Television suggests that almost two-thirds of Czechs are opposed to the placement of a US anti-missile radar system on Czech soil, with only 18 percent in favour and 17 percent undecided. According to the poll, Czechs also expressed strong opposition to international observers in the country, with most opposed to a Russian presence linked to the radar. Polls consistently show most Czechs are against the proposal, albeit the figures in this poll suggest the trend is increasing. Conversely, a new poll by the agency STEM suggests that most Czechs support the idea of some kind of missile defence shield in Europe. The Czech government expects to formally sign a treaty on the radar base this summer.
Newly released figures from the Czech traffic police suggest that the number of fatalities on Czech roads has fallen. The figures for the first quarter of 2008 reveal 264 deaths on the roads, a figure which is 43 less than 2007 first-quarter figures. The numbers of accidents, serious injuries and material damages from car accidents have also all decreased. Further, the figures for serious injuries are at their sixth lowest since 1990. The numbers are believed to represent a modest improvement in Czech efforts to decrease high levels of traffic accidents.
A planned high-speed luxury rail link between the Czech cities of Prague and Ostrava has been thrown into uncertainty as its backer considers shifting the project to Slovakia. The company behind the project, Student Agency, which has hitherto specialised in coach travel, is reportedly considering the shift abroad because of a controversial decision by the government to funnel transport investment financing through a state owned company known as the Rail and Transport Authority or SŽDC. Specifically, a 12 billion crown government investment into the Czech rail network has bought harsh protests from Student Agency, which has threatened to make a complaint at the European Court, stating that this form of government support is harming the private sector.
Nearly two thirds of Czechs are opposed to the planned building of a United States radar base in central Bohemia, suggests a fresh opinion poll conducted by the Median agency. Forty-four percent of respondents in the survey said they were definitely opposed to the installation, while 21 percent said they were rather opposed. Four percent were strongly in favour, while 14 percent were rather in favour. The findings of the latest poll are in line with previous surveys. Prague and Washington have reached agreement on the radar base, which would be part of a global missile defence system, though the Czech Parliament is yet to vote on whether to allow US soldiers on Czech soil.
The price of foodstuffs in the Czech Republic is likely to increase by at least ten percent this year, the president of the country’s Agricultural Chamber Jan Veleba said on a TV debate programme on Sunday. Mr Veleba said world demand for foods would always outstrip production, adding that rapid price rises were also caused by speculators. Czech consumers have seen record price increases; for instance, flour costs more than 50 percent more now than it did last May, while bread rolls, rice, milk and dairy products have all gone up by nearly a third in the last twelve months.
Runners from around the world took part in the Prague International Marathon on Sunday. Up to 5,000 runners were expected to sign up for the 14th Prague marathon, which got underway on the city’s Old Town Square at 9am. Unlike during a half-marathon earlier this year, participants crossed Charles Bridge, which is currently undergoing extensive reconstruction. A number of tram lines were diverted and traffic restrictions were in place. The race was won by the Kenyan runner Kenneth Mungara in a time of 2:11:06. The first Czech to cross the line was Róbert Štefko, who completed the race in 2:23:53.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events