Petr Wolf has become the fourth Social Democrat MP to leave the party’s
deputies group since the last elections in 2006. Mr Wolf quit the deputies
group after receiving threats over his positive
stance towards US plans to build a radar base in the Czech Republic, a
project the opposition Social Democrats are firmly against.
MPs Miloš Melčák and Michal Pohanka were expelled from the Social Democrats for supporting the current Civic Democrat-led government, while Evžen Snítilý met a similar fate after voting for the Civic Democrats’ candidate for president, Václav Klaus.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will come to Prague on July 8 to
sign a treaty with the Czech Republic on the location of an American radar
base in central Bohemia, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The newspaper said
the date had been confirmed by two members of the Czech government. Ms
had previously postponed a visit to Prague to sign the document, which has
yet to be approved by the Czech Parliament. Negotiations on a second
on various technical aspects of the base have not yet been completed.
The US radar base would be part of a global anti-missile shield. Polls have consistently shown around two thirds of Czechs are opposed to the building of the base. Opponents have said they will hold protests during the secretary of state’s visit, the details of which are being kept under wraps.
Minister Cyril Svoboda has criticised a decision not to hear a serious
child abuse case behind closed doors. He told the daily Lidové noviny
the fact the Kuřim case was being reported on in such detail could
threaten the health of the two boys whose mother and aunt are on trial.
Minister Svoboda said Judge Pavel Goth was more concerned with becoming
famous than protecting Jakub and Ondřej Mauer, who allegedly suffered
appalling abuse at the hands of a number of adults.
Court proceedings have received a huge amount of attention since the hearing began last week. The story has also been picked up by the international media, though the facts have sometimes been distorted; the British tabloid the Sun for instance ran an article with the headline “Boy eaten by family”.
The governor of the Czech National Bank, Zdeněk Tůma, is to discuss the strong crown with the Czech Association of Exporters next week, the group’s Jiří Grund told the news website aktualne.cz. Mr Grund said that exporters did not want to dictate to the central bank; nevertheless, he said, an interest rate rise had lead to speculation and a further strengthening of the crown. He said a quarter-point cut in interest rates would help Czech exporters. The crown again set new records against both the euro and the US dollar this week.
The body of a woman has been found in the Orlík Dam near Prague, a fire service spokesperson said. The corpse was found in a plastic container, after fishermen alerted the authorities to a strange object floating on the dam. Doctors said the body had been in the water for at least three months. In the early 1990s the bodies of two businessmen and a policeman were found in barrels in the Orlík Dam. Two people received life sentences for those killings, while others – including a police officer – received lengthy jail terms.
The Visegrad Four countries are setting up a new cultural organisation in the Czech city of Olomouc. Representatives of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have signed a document establishing the Central European Forum; it will focus on art, music, film and theatre in the post-WWII period from the Visegrad countries, as well as Germany and Austria. The new institution will be paid for by the European Union.
A new production of the Bartered Bride received its premiere at the Smetana’s Litomyšl International Opera Festival on Friday night. The new version of Bedřich Smetana’s popular opera is by Prague’s National Theatre, where it will be staged following the annual festival in the composer’s home town. (Radio Prague wrongly reported last week that the new production of the Bartered Bride was opening the festival on Wednesday. Sorry.)
The rock group Jethro Tull are playing a special outdoor concert beneath the castle at Loket near Karlovy Vary in west Bohemia on Saturday evening. The show is part of the British band’s 40th anniversary celebrations and has been sold out for several months. Former Deep Purple member Ritchie Blackmore played a sold out show at the same venue in 2006.
EU leaders have agreed the ratification process on the Lisbon Treaty will
continue, although the Czech Republic has stalled pending a constitutional
court decision. Lawmakers in the Senate previously petitioned the court to
examine the document’s compatibility with Czech law before the matter
went to a parliamentary vote. Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and other
members of the Czech delegation at the EU summit in Brussels made sure a
clause on the Czech situation was noted by the EU on Friday.
The Lisbon Treaty first hit a hurdle in Ireland’s referendum last week, where it was rejected by more than 53 percent of voters. That spurred critics of the document, including Czech President Václav Klaus, to declare it “finished”. EU leaders have since scrambled to save the project, aimed at reforming the functioning of the 27-member union.
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