The final Czech troops have returned from Kosovo. On Thursday evening, three planes of Czech soldiers touched down in the Přerov-Bochoř military base in the east of the Czech Republic. Their arrival marks the end of the Czech mission in the Balkans, a spokesman for the army said. Amongst the Czech troops’ most recent duties was the monitoring of Serb demonstrations following Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February. The Czech Republic recognized Kosovo’s independence in May and two weeks ago opened up an embassy in Pristina.
Russia has renewed crude oil deliveries to the Czech Republic to their original level after a month-long drop in supplies. Russia unexpectedly cut deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline in early July by nearly 50 percent from 500,000 to less than 300,000 tons of crude. Moscow said the cut in supplies was caused by technical problems and denied that it was linked to the signing of a Czech-US treaty on the positioning of a US missile defense radar on Czech soil. The main Czech refiner Unipetrol started tapping state oil reserves and increased deliveries through the Ingolstadt pipeline to make up for the outage.
Foster parents from Slavkov near Brno have been arrested for suspected maltreatment of children. Lubomír and Blažena Rosner are said to have been in custody for more than a week. The children in their care, who have allegedly complained about bad treatment to their teacher, have been taken away and placed in a social care institute. Police are refusing to comment on the case. The couple received an award from President Klaus in 2005 for their care for physically and mentally handicapped children for more than 20 years.
The Green Party leadership on Thursday approved new draft rules of the party. Members of the Greens will have one month to discuss and modify the draft. The proposals will be discussed at the national congress of the party due to take place at the beginning of September. The party rules were proposed by a team around party leader Martin Bursík and they met with criticism from deputy chairwoman Dana Kuchtová, who wants to run for the post of party leader. Mrs Kuchtová argues that they concentrate power in the hands of the leadership at the expense of the national council and regional organisations.
Court in west Bohemian town of Karlovy Vary have blocked the town’s immovable property worth six to eight billion crowns (over 500 million US dollars) due to an unpaid debt. The property was frozen after the culture department of the Town Hall had failed to pay a fee worth 130,000 crowns connected with court disputes over the reconstruction of the local theatre. Deputy Mayor Tomáš Hybner the town had already repaid the debt and that he expects the property to be unblocked within a week.
Several hundred far right supporters are expected to attend a neo-Nazi concert which is to be held in Ochoz near Brno on Saturday. The event is officially announced as a rock and metal concert but specialists in extremism say the bands openly support racism and neo-Nazism. About 100 policemen will monitor the event.
Most foreign gangs operating in the Czech Republic are involved in money laundering, drug dealing and illegal arms sales, the anti-organised crime united reported on Thursday. To a lesser extent, they are also involved in trading stolen cars, fraud and illegal immigration. According to experts from the anti-organised crime unit, violence in gangs is gradually decreasing and their interest is increasingly shifting to economic crime.
Two ferry links across the Vltava River were launched in Prague on Friday. One ferry will run between the National Theatre, Žofín Island and the district of Smíchov. The second ferry service will connect Prague’s Podolí and a park known as Císařská Louka on the other side of the river. The ferry is an extension of the capital’s integrated transport system, which means passengers can use CZK20 tram or metro ticket. The Czech capital is already operating several ferry links.
A new building on the Czech Republic’s highest peak Sněžka has opened to the public, replacing a building called Česká bouda which stood there from 1868. The controversial box-shaped building with wooden slates that can open up in summer and shutter up in winter was designed by architects Martin Rajniš and Patrik Hoffmann. It houses a post-office, restaurant and a look-out terrace.
Former Czech president Václav Havel has called for the International Olympic Committee to rethink its stance on athletes’ freedom of expression ahead of the Olympic Games in China, which start next week. The International Olympic Committee has urged athletes not to highlight human rights abuses in China while at the games, saying that such behaviour would constitute the spreading of political propaganda, which is banned by the Olympic Charter. On Thursday Václav Havel joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu in calling for the IOC to change its position. According to the public appeal of which Mr Havel is a signatory, ‘to speak of human rights is not politics; only authoritarian… regimes try to make it so’.