The Czech Republic is prepared to help Kosovo and other Balkan states to establish closer relations with the EU, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told the media after meeting with his Kosovo counterpart Skender Hyseni in Prague on Friday. Mr. Schwarzenberg said that in his view many problems in the Balkans could be successfully resolved through EU membership and that he would promote this stance during meetings with politicians from other EU countries. The Czech Republic is one of 40 states which have acknowledged Kosovo’s independence and this is historically the first ever visit to Prague by a Kosovo representative.
Mobile operators say they have sold around 3,500 Apple iPhones since they went on sale in the Czech Republic at the stroke of midnight on Thursday. The highest demand was for the Black Model with a 16 GB memory. The iPhone sells for approximately 12,000 crowns (over 700 US dollars) and operators expect to sell 50,000 of them before the end of the year.
A dentist has been charged for treating patients in a drunken state. According to the daily Právo, the dentist treated eight patients in this condition and one of them alerted the police. Blood samples revealed an alcohol level of 2,4. The man said he’d had a late nigh out with friends the night before but was perfectly capable of providing medical care. If found guilty he could lose his license and spend up to 12 months in jail.
A search is on for two Czech divers who failed to return from their diving expedition along the Croat coast on Friday. Two coast guard vessels, professional divers and a helicopter searched the water for several hours on Friday without success. The search was resumed at daybreak on Saturday. The Croat coast is a popular holiday destination with Czechs, but many of them suffer serious injuries or lose their lives after misjudging their strength and capabilities. Eleven Czech tourists have died on holiday in Croatia this summer alone. The Croat authorities have issued repeated warnings for Czech holiday-makers to exercise greater caution.
A middle-aged couple from Brno who were accused of abusing their adopted children have been released from custody. They were charged on the grounds of a complaint made by one of the underage boys who said his adoptive parents tended to be violent. He is said to have recorded such an incident on his mobile phone. The police have now questioned all fifteen children who were in their care. The couple were highly respected for adopting physically and mentally handicapped children for whom it was difficult to find homes and last year they received an award from President Klaus. Their neighbours claim all the children were well cared for and they had never noticed any signs of abuse or violence on the children. However there have also been suggestions that the burden was simply too great and may have led to excesses. If found guilty they could face a sentence of two to eight years in prison.
Thirty-four year old Petra Paroubková, wife of Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek has been hospitalized with health complications after losing her baby. Mr. Paroubek confirmed the news in a statement for the press on Friday, saying that the spontaneous abortion was a bad blow to both of them and asking the press to respect their privacy.
The Trutnov Open Air Music Festival originally known as “the Woodstock of the East" is well into its third day, attended among others by the former Czech president Václav Havel who has been a big fan ever since the festival was established in 1987. The highlight of Saturday’s concert will be the appearance of the US band Soulfly. This year the open-air concert is symbolically devoted to the victims of the 1989 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Prague mayor Pavel Bém has swapped his place for three days with the mayor of Sucha Loz, a small village in Moravia. The initiative came from the mayor of the village who challenged Mr. Bém to try being in charge of a community which received much smaller subsidies per head than Prague. While the mayor of Sucha Loz is briefly taking care of Mr. Bém’s duties in Prague, Pavel Bém is holding debates with the locals on necessary maintenance work on the village square, this year’s harvest and ways of attracting tourists to the sleepy Moravian village.
The inhabitants of a small Bohemian village have been asked to vote in a referendum on whether they want the mayor to introduce a ban on the use of lawnmowers over the weekend. Němčovice has close to a hundred inhabitants and this is the first referendum of its kind. Mayor Karel Ferschmann says it is an attempt to get people to be more active in local politics and let them know that their views count.
The Chamber of Deputies has passed a bill amendment which should see green
cards replace work visas and residence permits for foreign workers as of
next year. The amendment was approved on Friday. By issuing green cards,
the government is hoping to attract more foreign workers to the Czech
Republic - an idea which has been criticised heatedly by the opposition.
Opposition deputies were vocal ahead of the reading on Friday, warning of
ghettoisation, security and health risks, but the government has argued
Czech economy needs the foreign workforce. According to Labour Ministry
statistics, almost 280,000 foreigners currently work legally in the Czech
The green card is expected to replace the residence permit and work visa for foreign nationals. They will be able to apply only for jobs not filled by Czechs or other EU nationals within 30 days. For it to take effect, the law will now still have to be passed in the Senate and signed by the president.