The Czech government will not interfere in a decision to keep the remains of German WWII soldiers stored in a factory in the northern town of Usti nad Labem, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said on Saturday. The bodies of the Wehrmacht soldiers were exhumed from various graves around the country to be buried at a special cemetery in Prague. The organisers of the project ran out of money, and the remains were stored at the factory instead, where they have been for the last three years.
Students in Belarus, who are thrown out of their universities for taking part in demonstrations against their President Alexander Lukashenko could be allowed to continue their studies in the Czech Republic. The Czech government is to discuss this possibility at its session on Wednesday. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek also plans to discuss the study stays with education minister Petra Buzkova. Massive protest demonstrations are being held in the Belarusian capital Minsk after Mr Lukashenko gained another term in a presidential election last weekend, which is widely believed to have been rigged.
Former Czech President and human rights advocate Vaclav Havel has
spoken out against the United States' strict visa policy towards the
Czech Republic. Mr Havel said the USA was being pedantic and to some
extent absurd. Millions of Mexicans cross the border with bags of
cocaine and heroin, but the authorities are worried about the Czech
student staying too long, Mr Havel told the CTK news agency.
But unlike foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, Mr Havel believes reciprocal measures against US citizens are not necessary. Instead, Czechs should get the word out by openly talking about it, joking about it, and writing about it in papers, such as the New York Times, Mr Havel suggests.
A replica of a medieval crane that used to be powered by men running inside two large wheels is to be erected at Prague Castle. The crane will be part of an accompanying programme to the Charles IV exhibition that is currently underway. It will be constructed according to images from the famous Wenceslas Bible and similar cranes preserved in the Czech Republic and abroad.
The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats have strongly criticised Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek for failing to defend Czech interests at the EU summit in Brussels on Friday. The Czech Republic has backed down from its earlier demand for a stronger directive on the liberalisation of trade in services. The move was criticised at the Civic Democrats' Executive Council meeting in Karlovy Vary. The rival Social Democrats were also scorned for the large number of corruption scandals around the party, a lost arbitration case that could cost the state billions of crowns, and unrest in the health sector.
The Czech Republic's 'Zlaty Amos' award - given yearly to the country's 'best' teacher has been awarded to Ivana Krumplova, a Czech elementary school teacher from the Czech-Moravian highlands' town of Pelhrimov. Mrs Krumplova, a specialist in geography and the Czech language, beat out 33 other nominees, and triumphed in the "final six" on Friday - impressing the jury with an open approach to her class. The teacher was awarded the "Amos" by outgoing Education Minister Petra Buzkova.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has revealed that the Czech Republic
has backed down from its earlier demand for a stronger directive on the
liberalisation of trade in services in the European Union. Speaking at
a press conference in Brussels on Friday, the prime minister said that
it was necessary to find a compromise on the issue. Czech
representatives in the end backed Germany, France and the majority of
EU countries on the European Parliament's much adapted proposal,
lacking the previous "country-of-origin" clause. Countries like
Hungary, Latvia, and the Netherlands were against.
The original clause would have allowed individuals as well as companies to provide services throughout the EU using the laws and regulations of their home country. The Czech Chamber of Commerce has already suggested that without it, any new directive will have little economic effect.
A Prague City court has refused to reveal whether an arrest warrant will be issued for entrepreneur Libuse Barkova - a personal friend of former prime minister Stanislav Gross and his wife Sarka. Mrs Barkova - facing a new trial for insurance fraud - recently raised fears that she might elude justice after travelling to the Dominican Republic. She has since returned to Prague and her lawyer presented Mrs Barkova's passport to the court earlier this week, as well as issued a faxed promise by the defendant that she would not try and leave the country. In the past, a number of suspect business figures managed to escape abroad to avoid arrest in the Czech Republic - the most recent being Radovan Krejcir - a former Czech citizen now residing in the Seychelles.
The Czech Republic within the European Union has helped put forward a plan
for sanctions against the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. The plan -
initiated by Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda - was been discussed at
the EU summit in
Brussels on Friday. Sanctions are in reaction to last weekend's elections
Belarus, widely considered flawed. On Thursday night between 300-500 opposition demonstrators protesting Mr Lukashenko's re-election, were
confronted by police officers. The exact form of
sanctions against Belarus has not yet been agreed, but is expected to
include travel restrictions and financial penalties.
Sanctions may also include a travel ban for Belarus' strong-arm president.
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