A new species of venomous spider has been discovered in South Moravia. Named Eresus Movavicus by its discoverer, Milan Řezáč, it is one of the largest as well as most poisonous spiders in central Europe. Its sting can cause severe fever which can last several hours. The new species has already been registered with the World Spider Catalogue.
Around 50 cultural events will be held in the Czech Republic as part of the country’s six-month presidency of the EU, with the same number of events set to take place beyond the countries borders, officials said at a presentation on Monday. On Wednesday the first major cultural event of the presidency takes place at Prague’s National Theatre, featuring among others the Forman brothers, the twin sons of film director Miloš Forman. The Czech premiere of Ca Ira, a new opera by rock musician Roger Waters, a former member of Pink Floyd, will also be staged in Prague on May 1 as part of the Czech EU presidency’s cultural programme.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek of the Civic Democrats has delayed the
announcement of a cabinet reshuffle. The leaders of the two smaller parties
in the governing coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Greens, called
for the postponement, saying they wanted to discuss the proposed changes
with their party leaderships next Sunday. The prime minister has not said
which ministers will be changed, but there have been reports that Christian
Democrats chairman Jiří Čunek could be replaced as minister for regional
development. The news website ihned.cz reported that Mr Čunek has asked Mr
Topolánek to dismiss Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, a party rival of
The reshuffle expected on Monday was promised after poor results for the three parties in the governing coalition in Senate and regional elections in October. The Green Party’s minister for minorities and human rights, Džamila Stehlíková, has said she expects to be among the cabinet members replaced. As well as making changes to his cabinet, the prime minister is creating a new national economic council.
Thousands of Czechs registered for online sports betting on Monday, after online betting has become legal in the country. All those interested in betting online on sports results must personally register at a branch of one the Czech betting companies to prove they are over 18 years of age. Before online betting was legal, Czechs annually spent an estimated three to four billion crowns, or between 150 and 200 million dollars, on websites run by foreign companies.
The spokesman for the Czech prime minister during the Czech presidency of the European Union, Jiří Potužník, is being allowed to stay in the post, despite sparking a diplomatic row by describing Israel’s attacks on Gaza as “more defensive than offensive”. Mr Potužník told the news agency AFP that was the position of the Czech prime minister, before later saying his words had been misconstrued. The faux pas was described as a serious mistake by the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg. However, the minister said the Czech Republic did not need to issue an apology for the statement, which was condemned by an aide of the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, says he has drawn up a plan
aimed at bringing an end to the current conflict in the Middle East. Mr
Topolánek, speaking as the president of the European Union, said he had
already discussed the proposal – which envisages a cease-fire between the
two sides – with leaders such as Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and
the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Czech prime minister
said he also intended to discuss the plan with US President George Bush
later on Monday.
On Sunday a high-level European Union delegation led by the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, began a fact-finding mission to the Middle East, where Israeli forces have been attacking the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip for the last week and a half.
Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, of the Civic Democrats, has dismissed as “aggressive rhetoric” a call by Bernd Posselt, the leader of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft, for the Czech Republic to rescind the Beneš decrees. The decrees led to the expulsion of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten German population of around 2.5 million after World War II. On Friday Mr Posselt said the Czech Republic should take advantage of its EU presidency to lift the decrees and, in his words, “come to terms with its own history”. But Mr Zahradil responded by saying that the Czech EU presidency would definitely not deal with matters which he said had already been addressed – and closed - on bilateral as well as multilateral levels.
Prior to his departure for the Middle East on Sunday, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg indicated that he had a plan on how the EU could help broker an eventual ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, but declined to reveal details beyond the fact that the EU had a humanitarian role to play. The minister discussed the current conflict on public broadcaster Czech TV. He said that although some might question Israel’s reaction, the blame for the conflict lay firmly with Hamas, which he called a terrorist organisation. Mr Schwarzenberg also indicated, in his view, that Israel was aware of its worsening position on the international scene each day that operations - with additional wounded and dead - continued. During the Middle East mission, Mr Schwarzenberg will stop in Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.
In National Hockey League action, Czech forward Michal Frolík scored the final goal for Florida on Saturday in the Panther’s 6:1 romp over Pittsburgh. The forward scored in the 45th minute, his 7th goal of the season. Czech goalie Tomáš Vokoun was not in net for Florida in the win; goaltending duties in the match were instead covered by Craig Anderson.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
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Misha Glenny: Organised crime is an important part of Czech economy – and corruption is its twin sibling