Following the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Czech government has appealed to the authorities in Burma to free all of the country’s political prisoners. Prague also called on the Burmese military government to lift restrictions on opposition parties that did not take part in elections last weekend regarded as unfair. The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, said Aung San Suu Kyi had faithful friends in the Czech Republic; he said he hoped they would one day be able to visit the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Ondřej Liška has been elected leader of the Green Party at a weekend congress in Prague. Mr Liška, who is 33, had been acting chairman since the Greens’ leadership resigned following poor results in general elections in May. He had been the clear favourite and received 125 of 209 votes on Saturday. The party was part of a coalition government during the previous parliament, but failed to make it back into the lower house this year.
A month after the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl in Prague, police appear no closer to discovering her whereabouts. Anna Janatková was last seen in the Troja district of the city on October 13. Three weeks ago a 41-year-old man was charged with her kidnapping but then released, after a judge denied a police request to remand him in custody. Police, soldiers and others have been conducting daily searches for the girl, so far to no avail.
The respected Czech psychiatrist and sex therapist Miroslav Plzák has died in Prague at the age of 85. Best known as a marriage therapist, Dr Plzák produced a number of bestselling books on relationships, and also wrote television dramas and stage plays. A confidential hotline offering advice to people in distress which he set up in 1964 remains active to this day.
A boy of four died on Friday after falling into a pen holding two pit bull dogs, the news website novinky.cz reported. The incident occurred in the Moravian village of Lučice when the boy fell three metres from a balcony into the pen. He was already dead when an ambulance arrived at the scene. It is not yet clear whether the boy was killed by the fall or the dogs, which were being bred by his father. Police are investigating the matter.
Record warm temperatures were seen in several parts of the Czech Republic on Saturday. It was the warmest November 13 since records began in České Budějovice (19.4 degrees Celsius), Prague’s na Karlově (19), Brno (16.5) and Mošnov in Ostrava (17.5). At this time of year temperatures typically range from 3 to 8 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists have attributed the unseasonable weather to a stream of very warm air coming from south-eastern Europe.
From Sunday it will no longer be possible to buy monthly or three-monthly passes for Prague’s public transport network in paper form. Those wishing to purchase such a ticket will now have to get an Opencard, a chip card that can also be used to pay for other services. An exception is being made for third level students, who will still be able to buy monthly and three-monthly paper passes. It has not been possible to purchase a yearly ticket without an Opencard for two years.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players have been beaten 5:0 by Finland in the Karajala Tournament in Helsinki, suffering their worst defeat ever in the competition. The Czechs had lost 3:4 to Sweden in their first game in the tournament, which is the first of four events in the European Hockey Tour. Their next game is against Russia on Sunday.
The skier Šárka Záhrobská came seventh in a slalom World Cup event in Finland’s Levi on Saturday. Záhrobská, who took bronze at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finished 99 seconds behind winner Marlies Schild of Austria over two rounds. The next World Cup slalom is in the US resort of Aspen, where the Czech has come first for the last two years in a row.
The Czech Senate has approved a package of government bills aimed at significantly reducing state spending next year. It was the final session of the upper house in its current formation; the coalition parties will lose their majority when the winners of recent elections for one third of Senate seats are sworn in. Last week the government hurriedly pushed the amendments through the lower house under what is known as a state of legislative emergency, in order to allow the outgoing Senate to vote on them. The bills must now be signed by the president.
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