Meanwhile, Mr Svejnar has repeated his call for a public debate with the incumbent, Vaclav Klaus. In a statement, he said it would ensure maximum transparency in the vote and would help clarify President Klaus’s policies. Mr Klaus said, however, that he would not take part in such a debate because the post is decided by 281 deputies and senators.
Czech Television has criticised the awarding of an art prize to a group which sabotaged a live Czech TV broadcast, Lidove noviny reported. A spokesperson for the public channel told the newspaper that the presenting of the National Gallery award for young artists to the group Ztohoven had sent a very bad signal, as breaking the law had been recognized as art and rewarded. In June Ztohoven managed to superimpose an image of a nuclear mushroom cloud on live shots of a scenic area after tampering with a Czech TV camera.
The Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova has been beaten in a long-track race for the first time this season. After winning her first three races, the world champion and world record holder finished second in the 3000 m behind home favourite Renate Groenewold in the Dutch town of Heerenveen on Friday.
The Communist Party have suspended discussions on whether to back economist Jan Svejnar for the post of president in elections in early February, deputy leader Jiri Dolejs said. The Communists executive committee will wait to see whether Mr Svejnar has the genuine support of the Social Democrats; though the latter’s leader Jiri Paroubek has repeatedly expressed support for Mr Svejnar, the Communists believe some Social Democrat legislators may not actually back him in the bicameral vote. Jan Svejnar, who has spent most of his life in the USA, is supported by the Greens and is hoping to win the backing of the Christian Democrats. He is set to announce next week whether he is standing.
A European arrest warrant has been issued for Frantisek Prochazka, who is wanted in connection with the biggest cash robbery in the history of the Czech Republic. Czech police have been searching for Mr Prochazka since the robbery of CZK 560 million from the Prague offices of a security firm where he worked last Saturday. The security company G4S has offered a reward of over CZK 50 million for information leading to the capture of Mr Prochazka or any possible accomplices.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, was involved in a car crash during a rally in the capital on Saturday. Mr Topolanek was in the passenger’s seat when the crash occurred on a circuit at Prague’s Strahov. Neither he nor the driver Vaclav Pech was injured. Pech is one of the country’s leading rally drivers and has won the Czech national championship several times.
Two little girls who were mixed up by hospital staff and raised by the wrong parents for the best part of a year have spent their first birthday together. The case of infants Veronika and Nicola made world headlines when it was discovered they had been accidentally swapped at birth at Trebic hospital a year ago. The two girls recently began living with their biological parents, the Brozs and the Cermaks. Both families are also planning to spend Christmas together.
The Czech foreigner and border police will be reorganised by January 1 in connection with the Czech Republic's entry to the Schengen area. Pavel Vosicky of the Pilsen foreigner police made the announcement on Friday. The official revealed that 43 foreigner police inspectorates will be established by January to replace a current 195 branches which will cease to exist. Seven regional foreigner police offices will continue to function. The foreigner and border police management announced previously that all employees who will lose jobs as the result of the changes would be able to join traffic police in the border regions. The main task of the newly established inspectorates will be to prevent illegal migration. The Czech foreigner and border police had more than seven thousand members in 2005; by the end of this year their number will be reduced by more than two thousand.
The opposition Social Democrats have said they will decide by next Saturday whether to officially back Czech-American economist Jan Svejnar for president. The news was revealed by party chairman Jiri Paroubek, after meeting with Mr Svejnar on Friday. The well-known economist, whose name was first put forward by the Greens, has also not yet decided whether to enter the race against incumbent Vaclav Klaus; he has been testing the political waters, next week scheduling talks with the Christian Democrats and members of the Communist Party. Social Democrat Jiri Paroubek has been urging the Communists to consider Mr Svejnar’s nomination.
Tomas Plekanec scored his 9th goal of the season in NHL ice hockey action
on Thursday, helping lift his team the Montreal Canadiens over “Original
Six” rival, the Boston Bruins. The Canadiens won 4:2, their 7th match in
a row against Boston.
Toronto, meanwhile dumped the New York Rangers 6:2 with Leaf’s defenseman Pavel Kubina getting an assist. The Rangers’ Jaromir Jagr failed to get on the board.