Jan Beranek was re-elected the chairman of the non-parliamentary Green Party at its national conference on Saturday, narrowly defeating his only rival, the Prague branch head Petr Stepanek, by nine of the total of 193 votes cast in the ballot. The vote marked the culmination of recent internal disputes in the party over its management style. With 900 members, the Greens say they are aiming to enter the lower house in the 2006 general elections.
The Justice Minister, Pavel Nemec, has said he is considering lowering the age of criminal responsibility for children from 15 to 12 years in cases of particularly serious crimes. Children should be held criminally responsible in cases of murder, grievous bodily harm and robbery. The latest debate over lowering the age of criminal responsibility for children was sparked recently by a number of murders committed by children. In August, a group of children killed and robbed an elderly woman in her home and last week, police identified a 14-year-old boy as the murderer of a 13-year-old girl, his classmate, who was found stabbed to dead in January this year.
Iraqi officials have asked Prague for arms supplies recently due to the Baghdad government's critical shortage of weapons needed to fight rebel groups and criminal gangs in Iraq, Monday's edition of the newspaper Pravo reports. The daily quotes an Iraqi official as saying that the government forces have nothing but Kalashnikovs with which to take on terrorists armed with missile launchers and machine guns. Three high Iraqi officials visited Prague this summer. In July, it was the Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, in August the Water Resources Minister Abdul-Latif Rashid, and last week it was the Culture Minister Mufid al-Jazairi. According to the daily, all the three delegations mentioned Baghdad's interest in Czech weapons.
Prague's Attorney's Office has sent a request to strip Vladimir Zelezny of European Parliamentary immunity which would allow the MP to face criminal charges at home. The request, which is the 2nd put forward in Mr Zelezny's case, was received by the justice ministry, which will now pass it on to the European Parliament. It concerns two incidents in which Mr Zelezny is charged: harming a creditor, as well as tax evasion, during the days when Mr Zelezny was the head of the Czech Republic's most successful private TV broadcaster TV Nova.
Defence ministry Deputy Minister Martin Belcik has revealed that
negotiations on sending Czech ammunition to Afghanistan are drawing to
an end. The proposal to donate ammunition to Afghanistan's army under
President Hamid Karzai, must now be agreed upon by the Czech
government. The Czech Army needs to get rid of thousands of tonnes of
unneeded ammunition left over from the former Czechoslovak Army: some
39,000 tonnes are slated to be destroyed later this year, while a
further 27, 000 tonnes can be donated, or even sold.
On Monday Mr Belcik refused to comment what type of calibre ammunition Afghanistan's army might receive.
The new Afghani army counts some 13, 000 soldiers, while the number of police officers in the country now count more than twice that number. The actual transport of the Czech ammunition, if agreed upon, would be organised by the United States.
Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, was named on Monday as the winner of the 200,000-dollar Seoul Peace Prize for his efforts to promote democracy. He is the seventh winner of the prize which was established in 1990. Previous recipients include the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and international relief organisations such as Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam. The peace foundation praised Mr Havel as "living testimony to the democratisation" of his country. Vaclav Havel was involved in the human rights movement in the face of the Soviet invasion in 1968 and became one of the prominent figures among Czech intellectuals calling for democracy as an alternative to communism. He served as president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992 and between 1993 and 2003 he was president of the Czech Republic.
It took an extra period of overtime to decide a 3-3 hockey thriller
between the Czech Republic and Team Canada on Saturday night, that saw
Canada ultimately go through on a winner by forward Vincent Lecavalier.
Both the Czechs and Canadians played well in a furiously-paced game
that saw both teams earn excellent chances, including a mid-game
break-away chance by Canadian legend Mario Lemieux, that was snuffed
out by Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun.
In terms of overall shots the Czechs were dominant in the game, out-shooting Canada 40-24. However, Canada saw excellent form from Roberto Luongo, who had replaced an injured Martin Brodeur in net. And, it was Canada who took a dominant 2-0 lead in the second period. While the Czechs came back on goals by Petr Cajanek and Martin Havlat, Canada made it three in the third, to raise the bar again.
When Patrick Elias scored to make it even once more it would be the last Czech goal of the night, nevertheless, afterwards Czech team coach Vladimir Ruzicka said he was satisfied with his team's performance, saying the game had seen excellent play.
The highly touted semi-final between the Czechs and Team Canada lived up to expectations, and was reminiscent of the 1998 Olympics semi-final in Nagano, Japan, where it was the Czechs who just edged Canada in penalty shots.
A Czech-language website (novinky.cz) has reported that earlier this week
Dutch law officials arrested a suspect who may have ordered last month's
Prague casino attack. On August 1st an unknown assailant lobbed a grenade
vehicle belonging to a Prague-based Israeli casino owner, rumoured to have
ties in the underworld.
The attack, in which 18 pedestrians and tourists were injured on a busy Prague street, was widely considered as a settling of scores between rival gangs.
The suspect is reportedly Itzik Abergil, an influential boss in the Israeli underworld, says Czech website novinky.cz quoting the Israeli press. Dutch authorities detained Mr Abergil in Amsterdam on Wednesday on suspicion of drug smuggling from Belgium to the Netherlands.
Net minder Petr Cech has earned his fourth clean-sheet in five games,
as his football side, Chelsea, tied with Aston Villa on Saturday in the
English Premiership. In a notable moment in the game the Czech
goalkeeper erased a chance by Hitzlsperger on a free-kick, keeping the
Chelsea has now conceded just one goal in a total of five games.
The murder of a local priest has shocked residents in the town of Trebenice, North Bohemia. At around 5 am local time on Saturday fire-fighters were called to the local rectory which had been set alight, only to discover the 78-year-old priest still alive but mortally wounded. Sometime later the man succumbed to his injuries. A police investigation is underway, with speculation that the priest had surprised a burglar during a robbery, and that the assailant had set the parish alight in an effort to cover his tracks.