Officials have raised the flag of Libya’s Transitional National Council
(TNC) at the Libyan diplomatic mission in Prague, after rebel forces took
over much of the North African country’s capital Tripoli – six months
after fighting began against Colonel Muammar Gadhafi’s regime.
International news organisations have reported that while rebels secured
most parts of the Libyan capital, fighting continued on Monday at Colonel
Gadhafi’s heavily-defended compound. The whereabouts of the Libyan
The Czech news agency reported that as of Monday, Libyan diplomats in the Czech Republic will officially represent the TNC, adding that the mission had released a statement thanking Czechs for their stance on developments in Libya. At the same time, chargé d’affaires Nuri Ghavi expressed regret that Prague has not yet officially recognised the rebel government.
TOP 09 deputy leader and Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has confirmed that only ministerial deputies on behalf of the party will take part in upcoming cabinet meetings. The move is the result of a protest by the right-wing party over controversial state official Ladislav Bátora, who is the head of Human Resources at the Education Ministry and the head of an ultra-right civic association. He has been the centre of controversy since insulting TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg online, as well as for earlier public statements and opposition to a recent gay pride festival. Minister Kalousek expressed the hope that Mr Bátora would be recalled from his post within a matter of days; fellow coalition member Karolína Peake said the Bátora case would be discussed by party leaders on Tuesday.
In related news, Foreign minister and TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg
has himself for the first time said that the Bátora case could lead to
09 leaving the government. He made the statement in the latest issue of
weekly Týden. The turmoil over Mr Bátora – who in the past ran for the
ultra-right National Party – is the latest in a series of crises that
has threatened the centre-right government’s stability.
Mr Schwarzenberg is to run for re-election as party chairman in the autumn; in the interview he also indicated he would be interested in running for the post of president if direct presidential elections are introduced.
Some Civic Democrats have charged that the TOP 09 party are deliberately making use of the controversy surrounding state official Ladislav Bátora to bring down the government and even pave the way for early elections. Deputy leader Pavel Drobil told Parlamentní listy that was what TOP 09’s recent steps suggested to him. But such intent was denied by TOP 09’s deputy leader Miroslav Kalousek. Mr Bátora’s continuation in a high post at the Education Ministry remains unacceptable for coalition party TOP 09 including its leader Karel Schwarzenberg; Mr Bátora has former ties to the extremist National Party and has made numerous controversial statements on the Czech political scene – most recently opposing a gay pride festival in the Czech capital. Two members of the Public Affairs party, meanwhile, are reportedly urging the education minister to recall the official from his post.
Police have charged one person in connection with an attack in Rumburk at the weekend with bodily harm and harm with racial intent. If found guilty, he could face up to 12 years in prison. A second Roma suspect is under investigation and the police are searching for other members of a group of up to 20 aggressors who attacked four people leaving a local discotheque. The incident took place at around five am on Sunday morning; the victims said they were followed by the assailants who allegedly beat them with telescopic batons. Police have not ruled out additional charges in the case.
The Czech Republic’s National Security Authority (NBU) will manage a planned centre combating cyber crime, the daily Právo reports. The project was agreed by the head of the Interior Ministry, the National Security Authority and the prime minister. According to the newspaper, the Interior Ministry has sought the establishment of a centre focusing on Internet threats for some time but lacked the necessary funding and expertise. No timeframe for the new centre has been announced but concrete steps are to be discussed next week. Právo cited former interior minister Martin Pecina as saying the Czech Republic was the only country in the EU that still lacked a cyber crimes centre.
A 30-year-old Czech motorcyclist faces up to three years in prison after driving without a license (recently remanded) and trying to evade police in a dangerous escape attempt on Sunday. The rider came to the police officers’ attention by speeding and weaving in and out of lanes without signaling, causing them to pursue. The motorcyclist responded by trying to speed away, several times brushing against the police vehicle before crashing at the Strakonice exit. Mladá fronta Dnes reported that the vehicle itself continued for a dozen metres or so before crashing. The suspect meanwhile tried to run but was caught by the officers in foot pursuit.
Monday afternoon marked the deadline for new applications for the post of the head of public broadcaster Czech TV. The broadcaster is looking for a replacement for the general director Jiří Janeček, who announced earlier this year he would be stepping down for health reasons. Among those who have announced they will run for the post are Petr Dvořák, the former head of commercial broadcaster TV Nova and the head of news at Czech TV Roman Bradáč - both considered favourites. In all, 36 people applied for the job; other applicants include head dramaturg at Czech TV Jana Škopková as well as independent producer Fero Fenič, well-known for several groundbreaking documentary series in the Czech Republic.
Witnesses in a legal case against Czech hockey player Radek Duda have testified in a Karlovy Vary court that the suspect brutally beat-up a senior pedestrian in January after an incident between the two at a street crossing. Mr Duda is alleged to have exited his vehicle and beat up the older man – who is seeking 50,000 crowns in damages. The player claimed in court that he only pinched the other man in the face. Witnesses, by contrast, say he punched the sEnior eight or nine times, and even that the player held the older man with one hand while hitting him with the other. The 32-year-old Duda was let go by his former team Chomutov over the incident; if found guilty he could face up to two years in prison.
Ambulance crews in the region of Central Bohemia on Monday responded to 30 incidents in which individuals collapsed from the summer temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius currently in the Czech Republic. Two women died, officials reported. A 65-year-old woman collapsed at a parking lot in Kladno, near Prague, suffering heart failure and could not be resuscitated. Another, an 80-year-old woman died in the hallway of her apartment building. Emergency crews also registered a higher number of strokes on Monday. The heat wave is expected to last through to Saturday, after which temperatures are expected to fall.
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