The government on Wednesday rejected a proposal by Communist deputies to enact a one-off referendum on the stationing of a US radar base in the Czech Republic. The Communist Party says the radar would infringe on the country’s security and sovereignty. The proposal is yet to be assessed by Parliament. Previous proposals to hold a public referendum on the radar failed to win approval. The ruling Civic Democrats, who are against the plebiscite, are strong enough to block the law on a referendum in both the Lower House and the Senate.
The Czech Parliament will most likely ratify the Lisbon Treaty on the future arrangement of the EU, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said after a meeting of ten EU foreign ministers in Paris on Tuesday. If the treaty is ratified by the end of the year, the Czech Republic will be the first country to take up the rotating EU presidency in line with the new model. Migration and the role of new EU institutions, as outlined in the Lisbon Treaty, were also on the agenda of the talks.
The main Czech-American treaty on the stationing of a US radar base on
Czech soil will guarantee preferential protection against a missile attack
to Czechs, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The Czech Republic will
be also able to participate on the development of plans for anti-missile
protection in Europe.
Under the treaty, the Czech Republic will be responsible for providing external security for the US radar base on Czech soil and the base will be guarded by Czech military police. The US will be responsible for internal security and order at the base and the radar will be guarded by US troops. The agreement is yet to be approved by the Czech Parliament.
The Czech Judges’ Union objects to an absolute ban on the physical punishment of children as proposed by the minister in charge of human rights and minorities Džamila Stehlíková and supported by the Council of Europe. The president of the Judges’ Union Jaromír Jirsa told the daily Právo that a total ban would not reduce the physical abuse of children. He said the state should not interfere unreasonably in family life.
Czech humanitarian organisations have raised about 4 million crowns in aid of the victims of the devastating cyclone in Burma. The biggest sum, over 3 million crowns, was raised by the NGO People in Need. The Foreign Ministry last week earmarked five million crowns for the devastated region. Czech humanitarian workers are also helping directly in the areas hit by the cyclone.
Prague City Council would like to bring the Slav Epic, a collection of huge paintings by Alphonse Mucha, to Prague despite the fact that it has failed to meet the artists’ condition to build a special pavilion for the works. Mucha donated the paintings to Prague in 1913 but they were only displayed in the Czech capital once, in 1928. For the past 45 years the Slav Epic has been exhibited in the town of Moravský Krumlov which is not happy about having to give up the treasure, pointing out that not having built a suitable gallery for the works Prague does not have the moral right to take possession of them.
Veteran Czech midfielder Pavel Nedvěd will not represent the Czech Republic at the European football championship Euro 2008 held in Austria and Switzerland this summer. His name is not included on the list of the 23 players nominated for the final preparations in Austria, which was announced on Wednesday by the national team’s coach Karel Bruckner. The 35-year old Nedvěd on Tuesday signed a one-year contract extension with Juventus that will last until the end of June 2009.
The Czech Republic will be dispatching aid to China in the wake of a devastating earthquake that hit its Southwestern provinces. Beijing rejected a Czech offer of emergency crews with sniffer-dogs, saying that financial aid would be more appropriate at this stage, due to the lack of funds for medicines and emergency supplies. The Czech Foreign Ministry says it is consulting various forms of assistance with the Chinese authorities. Monday’s earthquake in the Sichuan province is believed to have killed over 10,000 people, leaving many more homeless.
Environment Minister Martin Bursík says the Czech Republic can halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. At a press conference in Prague on Tuesday Mr. Bursík presented the results of an in-depth analysis according to which this would be possible at moderate cost. The reduction could be reached by replacing coal with gas, a wider use of biogases and the introduction of energy-saving measures in companies and households. If consistently implemented such a policy would cut carbon dioxide emissions from 114 million tons in 2006 to 46 million tons in 2020. The minister said he was planning to draft a new long-term policy plan outlining specific reduction projects.