The Czech presidency of the European Union has condemned planned Israeli settlement activities in the vicinity of the Adam settlement in the West Bank. In a statement issued on Friday, the presidency urged Israel to reconsider the planned construction which would violate international law. Continued settlement activities represent a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East, and severely damage the prospect of the creation of a viable Palestinian state, the Czech EU presidency said.
Israel plans to build another 1,400 housing units near the existing settlement of Adam in the West Bank. According to the EU presidency statement, Israel built more than 1,200 settlement structures last year, nearly 750 of them permanent.
Czech NGOs say the Czech Republic has the highest number of children placed in institutional care of all European countries. Around 23,000 children are growing up in various types of institutions. The NGOs’ representatives told reporters on Saturday that more than half of all children in institutional care were taken away from their families because of poor living and social conditions. This could have been prevented by better social work with such families. The experts also said that Czech children’s care homes should be transformed into family-type facilities with the maximum of ten children, instead of the current 45.
Around 40 supporters of the small far-right Workers’ Party gathered in the town of Postoloprty, northern Bohemia, on Saturday in order to deal with alleged Romany criminality. The party leadership said a number of local citizens asked them to help deal with crime attributed to the local Romany community. Riot police and members or human rights NGOs are monitoring the situation. The Workers’ Party originally planned to stage a march through the town which was banned by local authorities.
The government is seeking the banning of the Worker’s Party following attacks on a Romany community last November. The request is now being reviewed by the Supreme Administrative Court.
The leaders of the Social Democrats have asked a former regional boss to quit the party for bringing prostitutes from eastern Europe to work at his brothel. Miroslav Mrština, who led the party branch in Hradec Králové, hired five women from Ukraine and Belarus, the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported on Friday. Mr Mrština previously indicated he would resign from the Social Democrats after allegations the brothel in the town of Náchod was renovated with state funds he received from ministries held by party colleagues when they were in government.
In a report published on Friday the World Bank said the economies of six central and eastern European countries will grow by two percent this year. The prediction is more favourable than that by the Czech National Bank, which estimates that the GDP will contract by -0.3 percent in 2009.
A man convicted of rape and murder of a nine-year-old boy was sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday. The 43-year-old Slovak national raped the boy in May last year in the town of Havlíčkův Brod, in eastern Bohemia. He later took him to a nearby forest where he strangled him. The murdered had been previously sentenced for various sex offences in Slovakia, and had been neglecting treatment. The boy’s mother accidentally poisoned herself with carbon monoxide in January this year.
Prague's biggest funfair Matějská pout opened its gates at the city’s exhibition grounds in Holešovice on Saturday, despite bad weather. Originally a pilgrimage to the nearby church of St Matthew, the fair now offers more than 130 attractions including a giant water slide, a roller coaster and many carousels.
An express train killed a horse that got stuck on rail tracks during a carnival in a Bohemian village on Saturday. The horse was led across the tracks in Zadní Třebáň, some 30 km southwest of Prague, during the community’s carnival when one of its hooves got stuck in the tracks. People ran to warn the driver of an approaching train; however it did not manage to stop in time and hit the horse. No people were injured in the accident which caused several hours of delays on the busy Prague – Beroun railway line.
Czech midfielder and former national side’s captain Tomáš Rosický could appear on Arsenal reserve team in three weeks’ time, the club’s head coach Arsene Wenger said on Saturday. The Czech star underwent two knee operations last year, missing Euro 2008. He last played for Arsenal over a year ago.
Snow and rain in lower positions is expected around the country for the rest of the weekend. Highest day temperatures will range between -1 and +4 degrees Celsius.
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