The Czech military counterintelligence says that foreign spies have tried to gain classified information about a planned US radar base in the Czech Republic. In its annual report for 2007, published on Monday, the Czech agency said that intelligence services of some countries were interested in recruiting Czech citizens with access to classified information. The report also said that in 2007, concrete interest was registered in information relating to the construction of the US anti-missile radar on Czech territory. The report came after the Czech civilian intelligence service said last week that Russian spies attempted to increase opposition on the part of Czech politicians, media and citizen groups to the radar base.
The police are investigating three allegedly anti-Romany posters the governor of the Ústí Region Jiří Šulc has used in his campaign ahead of the local elections. Governor Šulc, who tops the Civic Democrat ballot in the northern Bohemian region for the upcoming local elections, had three billboards put up that said “Work hard, Gadžo, so that we are better off”, the word Gadžo being the Romany expression for white people. The posters have been criticized by some senior Civic Democrats as well as by Mr Šulc’ opponents in the campaign. However, the Governor says he copied the slogan after seeing it written on a wall in one of the towns of the region.
Czech Prime Minister, and head of the Civic Democrats Mirek Topolánek addressed Britain’s Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on Monday. In his speech, Mr Topolánek said that a new conservative fraction in the European Parliament, consisting mainly of British Conservative and Czech Civic Democrat MEPs, may be established if the next elections turn our favourably. The Czech PM also mentioned several points the two parties had in common, including a cautious view on the adoption of the euro.
The Czech Republic’s chief hygiene officer Michael Vít told reporters on Monday that the situation regarding hepatitis A in the country was not critical, despite the growing number of cases. More than 600 people have been infected with hepatitis A since the beginning of the year. Local epidemics of the disease occurred in Prague and central Bohemia during the summer, with more than 340 cases in the capital alone. Mr Vít said no preventive measures were needed although the authorities expect that infection rates will culminate by late November.
The umbrella organization of Czech Muslims, known as Libertas Independet Agency, said on Monday that they would file a criminal complaint against the far right-wing National Party and its chairwoman Petra Edelmannová. Muslim leader Lukáš Lhoťan said the National Party’s website contained a number of statements and threats concerning the Czech Muslim community. The National Party website reportedly called for the demolition of mosques and the ban of Islam in connection with the recent death of the Czech ambassador to Pakistan who was killed in a terrorist attack against the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.
The Supreme Court ordered on Monday a new investigation of alleged corruption related to the Czech army’s deals for the renovation of military airports. Several senior army officers were accused in 1999 of preferential treatment of certain construction firms which received deals to renovate military airports and service equipment. In 2007, a court in Prague shelved the case but two of the accused still filed a complaint with the Supreme Court. The case will now go back to the Municipal Court in Prague.
A court in Ústí nad Labem, northern Bohemia, acquitted on Monday 14 people who had been accused of embezzling Universal Bank in 1999. The prosecution claimed the accused committed fraud causing the bank a loss of 660 million crowns, or more than 38 million US dollars, but the court said that the activities of the accused were not criminal.
Czech chemist Anotnín Holý was awarded honorary professorship at the School of Chemistry of the University of Manchester on Monday. Mr Holý, who is 72, specializes in the research of drugs that could be used against leukaemia and cancer as well as AIDS and hepatitis, and has authored more than 650 studies.
Writer and playwright Adolf Branald died in Prague on Sunday at the age of 97. Mr Branald, whose major novels Dědeček automobil and Vizita were also filmed, published his last work in 2005. He is also credited to have been the first Czech male film actor due to his appearance in a 1918 movie, filmed by his father. In 1996, Adolf Branald was presented with the Czech PEN Club Award in recognition of his lifelong work.
Jaromír Jágr, who plays for Russia’s Omsk, scored a winning goal in a Continental Hockey League’s match against Balshikha on Monday, making it the seventh consecutive victory of his team. After having registered two assists, he netted his club’s fifth goal in the 54th minute, setting the final score at 5:4.