The US Federal Aviation Administration is planning to test a new Czech air traffic control system developed for pilot-less planes, the Czech News Agency reported. The FAA is expected to reach a deal in the near future with the system’s creators, the cybernetics department at Prague’s ČVUT technical university. The AGENTFLY system does away with the need for a control tower and was first developed for pilot-less helicopters. The new air traffic control system could be included in a US scheme to employ Czech technology in exchange for the positioning of an anti-missile radar base in central Bohemia.
The Economia group, which publishes the financial daily Hospodářské noviny and the weekly Ekonom, has been bought by one of the Czech Republic’s wealthiest businessmen, Zdeněk Bakala. The German company Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt had been looking for a buyer for its majority stake in Economia for several months. Mr Bakala, who owns mining giant OKD, is reported to have set up a new firm 100-percent owned by him to buy the group, which is behind a number of financial and trade publications. His spokesman refused to comment on the matter. Zdeněk Bakala also owns the liberal intellectual weekly Respekt.
The mayor of a small town who spent a week as mayor of the Czech capital says he used to know Prague but now he knows the city’s problems. Petr Gazdík, mayor of the small town of Suchá Loz, temporarily swapped jobs at the invitation of Prague mayor Pavel Bém after complaining that small municipalities lost out compared to the capital in terms of the redistribution of money collected in taxes. Mr Gazdík told reporters he had agreed with Mr Bém on 90 percent of issues, but they still differed over municipal financing and the idea of Prague hosting the Olympics, which Mr Bém supports.
There are concerns in Croatia about an upcoming soccer game between Dinamo Zagreb and Sparta Prague, after Sparta fans expressed support for the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, the Czech news website novinky.cz reported. The Croatian newspaper Vecernji ran a story on Friday about Sparta fans carrying a flag calling on both Karadzic and former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic to “hold on!” during a game against Mladá Boleslav earlier this month. A Sparta spokesperson told Vecernji the club had no control over such supporters. The Czech side take on Dinamo Zagreb in the Croatian capital on September 18 in the first leg of a UEFA Cup first round tie.
Radek Štěpánek is the only Czech singles player to have made it into the third round of tennis’s US Open, in what has been a disappointing competition for the Czech Republic. Štěpánek beat Australia’s Chris Guccione 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-2 to set up a meeting with Roger Federer of Switzerland for a place in the last 16 at Flushing Meadows.
The Prague football club Bohemians 1905 could be forced to leave their Ďolíček stadium in Vršovice, Lidové noviny reported. A representative of the company which owns the stadium, CTY Development, told the newspaper it did not have the funds to rebuild it to meet new Czech league standards due to come into effect in 2012. However, the club’s director Lukáš Přibyl said he hoped compromise could be reached in the matter, adding that remaining at Ďolíček was the number one priority of fans. Bohemians 1905, who are currently in the Czech second division, are one of the best supported clubs in the country.
The Czech Radio station Vltava has begun offering free downloads of recordings of Czech and international literary classics. Among the Czech works available in audio book form at the station’s website are Jan Neruda’s Prague Tales, The Grandmother by Božena Němcová and The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek.
Two hundred candidates will run for the seats in the Senate elections this autumn, in which one third of the Senate - 27 of the 81 Senators - are to be replaced. The deadline for the registration of the candidates expired on Friday. Altogether 31 parties and movements have fielded their candidates. Only three parties, the Civic Democrats, the Social Democrats and the Communists have fielded their candidates in all 27 constituencies. Out of the 27 senators whose mandate expires in the autumn, 20 will seek re-election.
Czech-US talks on the SOFA treaty concerning the presence of US personnel at the planned radar base on Czech soil will continue simultaneously in the Czech Republic and in the US at the end of next week, Deputy Defence Minister Martin Barták said. Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanová said earlier this week that the bilateral SOFA agreement will soon be completed. The Czech and the US in July signed the main treaty on the radar base. The ratification process of both treaties in Czech parliament might be completed by the end of this year.
The number of Czechs arrested or imprisoned abroad has risen in recent years. According to the data released by the Foreign Ministry, 869 Czechs were arrested in 2005, while a year later it was 999. Last year the figure increased to 1093. Czechs are most frequently detained abroad on suspicion of theft, burglary, violent crime or the violation of their residence conditions. Most cases have been reported in Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia, which are countries visited by a high number of Czechs.