Two Czech scientists who were detained in north-east India last month for the alleged illegal collecting of rare insects, have been released on bail. Czech officials confirmed their release on Friday. 52-year-old Emil Kučera and Petr Švacha, 51, were detained near India’s Singalila National Park on June 23, for collecting rare insects in the park without official permits. Both men had been in custody since. Czech officials have provided assurances the men will not leave India prior to a court decion. Under Indian law both could face two to seven years in prison. They have denied any wrongdoing.
The Archive of Czech Security Forces has made public registration protocols of defunct military counter-intelligence dating back to Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime. The documents were made accessible on Friday at the Archive’s website. The database is said to contain more than 300 registration files with details on some 140,000 people. The head of the archives, Ladislav Bukovský, said that the reason the records were being made public was to achieve maximum transparency. He said that Communist counter-intelligence files could pertain to former agents or persons vetted by the former military counter-intelligence, abolished in 1990. The oldest of the files dates back to 1954 – the last to 1989, when the communist regime fell in Czechoslovakia.
Members of the Christian Democratic Party in Prague have called on Culture Minister Václav Jehlička and Mayor Pavel Bém to reconsider a proposal for the new national library. Earlier in the week, the culture minister made clear a proposal designed by Czech-born architect Jan Kaplický, which has been the source of a split among Prague politicians – would not be built. The ultra-modern design, nicknamed the Blob or the Octopus, was to have stood on Prague’s Letná Plain. But disputes over city land, as well as problems over funding, ground the project to a halt. The head of the National Library, Vlastimil Ježek, has said he may file criminal charges over the dispute.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his Czech counterpart Václav Klaus
have said Ireland has a key role to play in the future of the Lisbon
Treaty, following Irish voters’ rejection of the document. The two heads
of state said that resolving the issue would require time and patience.
After talks at the Czech presidential residence at Lány near Prague on
Thursday, Mr Kaczynski said without Ireland’s ratification Lisbon did
exist. But he said Poland would not impede ratification of the treaty,
which is intended to reform the running of the European Union. For his
part, Mr Klaus, who is a euro-sceptic, is firmly opposed to further EU
integration; he welcomed the Irish “No” vote last month.
The Czech Parliament is due to vote on the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon towards the end of this year, after the Czech Constitutional Court rules on whether it is in line with the Czech constitution.
Czech internet site Ekonom.cz has suggested that companies Mediatel and Google, as well as two or three other financial investors, have expressed an interest in Czech search engine and website Seznam. However, Seznam’s owner Ivo Lukačovič, who holds a 70 percent stake, has denied the report, telling the site at the end of the year the property will still be his. Mr Lukačovič has repeatedly denied Seznam’s sale. But Ekonom reported that Friday saw the end of a second round for potential bidders, willing to pay an estimated 900 million US dollars for ownership of the successful search engine. Seznam is used daily by 2.1 million visitors.
Police investigating a theft at the office of Czech MP Petr Wolf say there is no evidence that the crime was politically-motivated. But they stressed they were not ruling out any possibilities for the time being. An unknown perpetrator stole a laptop computer from the MP’s office on Thursday; Petr Wolf is currently abroad, but made headlines not long ago for his sudden departure form the opposition Social Democratic Party. The MP has claimed the party’s leader, Jiří Paroubek, had tried to intimidate him during this year’s presidential election, saying he had threatened to go public with alleged discrepancies in Wolf’s business dealings. Petr Wolf’s wife has expressed fear over the theft, saying there was a clear connection to politics.
Pavel Grohman, the 38-year-old drummer for the popular Czech band Chinaski, has died, killed in a motorcycle accident on Friday. The information was released by the band’s manager Hana Petřinová, who revealed that the incident took place shortly before noon. The drummer suffered fatal injuries after colliding with a vehicle; he died en route to hospital. Along with frontman Michal Malátný, Pavel Grohman was a founding member of Chinaski, as well as the author of Klára, one of the band's biggest hits.
Karel Bruckner, the former head of the Czech national football team, has been appointed the coach for the national squad in Austria. The announcement, made in Vienna on Friday, came as something of a surprise, as Mr Bruckner had widely been expected to retire from the world of football. Mr Bruckner’s greatest success as head of the Czech team was a bronze finish in the European Championship in Portugal in 2004. He stepped down earlier this year after the Czechs were eliminated at Euro 2008. Mr Bruckner will coach the Austrian squad through qualification for the next World Cup.
More than 500 Russian hockey fans in Omsk Russia welcomed the arrival of Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr on Friday. Jágr arrived at the airport in Omsk, Siberia, at around five-thirty am local time, to soon join his new hockey club Avangard Omsk. This spring the star player notched-up his 17th season in the NHL but opted for Russia’s Continental Hockey League after the New York Rangers gave up awaiting his decision on whether to return for another season. It is not the first time Jágr will be playing for Omsk: he also played for the team during the NHL lockout in 2004/2005.
The Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, is holding talks with his Czech
counterpart Václav Klaus on Thursday evening. The two heads of state are
expected to discuss the ratification of the European Union’s Lisbon
Treaty at the Czech presidential retreat Lány, near Prague. Mr Kaczynski
had said he would not sign the reform treaty in the wake of Ireland’s
rejection of the document, but changed his position after a meeting with
Nicolas Sarkozy the president of France, which currently holds the rotating
EU presidency. Mr Klaus, who is a euro-sceptic, has consistently expressed
opposition to further EU integration.
The Czech Parliament is due to vote on the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon towards the end of this year, after the Czech Constitutional Court rules on whether it is in line with the Czech constitution. The news website iDnes reported on Thursday that the government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek was attempting to persuade the court to rule in favour of Lisbon.
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