Daily news summary News

07-08-2005

Bublan wants to give municipalities say over events, not landowners

The interior minister, Frantisek Bublan, has said he will push for changes to certain laws, following the police break-up of a music festival last weekend. Mr Bublan said on Sunday it should be up to local authorities to decide whether they want such an event in their area - the consent of the owner of the site would no longer suffice.

Over a hundred people were injured on both sides after riot police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse an estimated 5,000 participants at the CzechTek festival, which took place in a meadow in west Bohemia.

There has been a great deal of criticism of the police's handling of the affair. Mr Bublan and Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek continue to insist the intervention was justified, though both men say some individual police officers may have broken regulations.

Investigations have been launched by both the police themselves and the Ombudsman's office.

Supreme Court judge suspended over communist-era secret police link

A judge at the Supreme Court in Prague is listed as having collaborated with the StB secret police during the communist era. Judge Jitka Horova has been suspended pending an inquiry; she denies having collaborated, and is planning to sue the Interior Ministry. Justice Minister Pavel Nemec said on Sunday he had ordered the files of 60 judges to be examined; he said the law clearly stated that anyone with a positive screening test was barred from being a judge.

Svagr: Czech transport infrastructure needs major investment

The Czech Republic's transport infrastructure needs investments of around 1.3 billion Czech crowns (over 50 million US dollars) by 2013, says Pavel Svagr of the State Transport Infrastructure Fund. In an interview for the Czech BBC, Mr Svagr called for the creation of a public private partnership scheme to develop the country's road network in the future.

Former TV Nova boss Zelezny elected chairman of new party

Former TV Nova boss Vladimir Zelezny has been elected chairman of the Independent Democrats, at the party's inaugural conference in Prague. Mr Zelezny, who is a member of the European Parliament, said the party was aiming to enter the Chamber of Deputies at next year's elections, and to play a part in the formation of the next government. The Independent Democrats, who so far have 500 members, look set to adopt policies critical of the European Union.

Castle concerts series comes to an end

A series of festivals aimed at encouraging Czechs to visit the country's castles has come to an end. The last of the Ceske hrady.cz concerts - featuring acts like Prazsky Vyber and Dan Barta - took place at Svihov castle in west Bohemia on Saturday night.

Only one Czech qualifies from heats on first day in Helsinki

The first day of the World Athletics Championships in Helsinki was something of a washout for the Czech Republic, with only high-jumper Iva Strakova getting through the heats on Saturday. The biggest names to go out were triple jumper Sarka Kasparkova and hurlder Jiri Muzik.

Sunday's heats saw Vera Cechlova-Pospisilova advance with ease to the final of the women's discus; she is regarded as one of the leading Czech medal hopefuls.

Weather

The next few days should see sunny spells with rain in places. Temperatures should gradually increase, rising to around 26 degrees Celsius in the middle of the week.

07-08-2005