The president of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, has said the Czech
Republic should set a target date for adoption of the common European
currency. He made the comments in an interview for the Czech newspaper
Deník. The Czech government has refused to fix a date for adopting the
euro, saying it is first necessary to implement reforms and stabilise the
public finances. If Poland meets its freshly announced target of joining
the eurozone in 2011, all of the Czech Republic’s neighbours will be
using the currency in less than two and a half years’ time.
Meanwhile, Czech business leaders, concerned by the continuing strength of the Czech crown, have called on the government to speed up the euro adoption process. The crown has risen by nearly 20-percent year-on-year towards the euro, meaning smaller profits for companies who export to eurozone states.
President Václav Klaus says a blackmail and entrapment affair that has
rocked his party the Civic Democrats reflects a failure of the Czech
political system rather than a failure of individuals. MP Jan Morava
resigned this week after it emerged he had bought what appeared to be
compromising photos of a Civic Democrat colleague, Vlastimil Tlustý. The
latter has refused calls to resign for taking part in a tabloid TV sting.
Mr Klaus said that contemporary Czech politics was bereft of ideology and
had become a fight for power using all possible means; he said if politics
had more content there would be no need for various kinds of dirty tricks.
On Thursday the Civic Democrats senators group called on Mr Tlustý, who has a thorn in the side of the party leadership since being passed over for a cabinet post, to resign as an MP. Several senior party members have already urged him to quit.
Two giants of Czech culture, playwright Václav Havel and film director
Miloš Forman, are working together on a film about the Munich Agreement of
1938, under which the United Kingdom and France allowed Germany to annex
parts of Czechoslovakia. Mladá fronta Dnes reported that the film is based
on a novel by Georges-Marc Benamou entitled The Ghost of Munich; it
describes the Munich conference from the point of view of former French
prime minister Edouard Daladier. A Czech translation of the book with a
foreword by Mr Havel is being released next week.
After leading the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Václav Havel became president of Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. Miloš Forman is perhaps the most successful Czech film director, with best director Academy Awards for One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus.
Around 800 police officers will be deployed when Spartak Moscow play a UEFA Cup game against Baník Ostrava in the north Moravian city next Thursday. Both Spartak and Baník have hooligan elements among their supporters and other trouble-makers are expected to come from across the border in Poland for the match. The Czech News Agency reported that Baník hooligans had refused an internet challenge from their Russian counterparts to a 200 against 200 fight at a set location away from Ostrava’s Bazaly stadium. Polish officers will also take part in a police operation aimed at preventing trouble.
A new feature film about Czechoslovak soldiers who fought in the desert near the Libyan port of Tobruk in World War II goes on release in the Czech Republic on Thursday. Entitled Tobruk, it was produced and directed by Václav Marhoul and was made with support from the Czech Ministry of Defence. Mr Marhoul visited Czech troops at bases in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan in preparation for the movie, which focuses on the everyday lives of soldiers and features just one battle scene.
The Czech Republic’s footballers drew 0:0 with Northern Ireland in Belfast on Wednesday night, in the first game of their campaign to reach the next World Cup. Goalkeeper Petr Čech was judged the Czechs’ best player in what was a game of few chances. Their next World Cup qualifier is away to Poland on October 11.
Czech athletes have won two more medals at the Paralympics in Beijing. Eva Berná, who is 22, came third in the F37-38 category shot put, while Martin Zvolánek, 42, took bronze in the discus F32-51 category. The Czech team have so far taken 14 medals at the Paralympics and stand at 18th in the overall medals ranking.
Two scientists found guilty of illegally collecting insects in India were sentenced by a Darjeeling court on Wednesday. Petr Švacha was released by the judge, who cleared the 51-year-old of blame, while Mr Švacha’s colleague Emil Kučera was sentenced to three years in prison. Mr Kučera immediately appealed the verdict. The two entomologists were arrested in the Singalila National Park on June 23 and charged with poaching rare and valuable insects from the reserve.
The head of the Czech National Library, Vlastimil Ježek, has been sacked. Culture Minister Václav Jehlička dismissed Mr Ježek on Tuesday, amidst an ongoing feud surrounding plans to build a new National Library building. Mr Ježek has responded to the move by saying he doesn’t understand on which grounds he was dismissed. The former library head is a fervent supporter of architect Jan Kaplický’s winning design for a new National Library building, to which the Culture Ministry is opposed. The construction of Mr Kaplický’s design has been put on hold while politicians argue over the competition rules that allowed the design to win.
The government has approved the Czech-American Status of Forces (SOFA) Agreement which provides a legal framework for US soldiers on Czech soil. Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanová made the announcement to journalists on Wednesday, adding that the treaty is now ready for US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates to sign in London on September 19. The SOFA agreement lays down the terms by which US soldiers would operate at a proposed radar base in Brdy, Central Bohemia. Negotiations on the agreement’s wording have taken months longer than originally expected due to clauses on American soldiers’ tax status.
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