US President Barack Obama will meet eleven Central and East European
leaders when he comes to Prague next Thursday to sign a disarmament treaty
with Russia. The US and Russian presidents are expected to sign a landmark
deal to slash nuclear warheads that will replace the START I treaty which
expired in December.
President Obama is expected to arrive on Thursday morning and head straight for Prague Castle for the signing ceremony and one-on-one talks with his Russian counterpart. A meeting with the Czech president and prime minister is also on the agenda.
In the evening he is to host a dinner for 11 Central and East European leaders. Political analysts say that the main aim of the talks is to reassure the former Soviet-block states that Washington is not selling out their interests in forging closer ties with Moscow.
The two-day high profile event in Prague will be accompanied by a massive security operation involving the Czech police, army and foreign security teams. A number of locations will be closed to traffic and there may be restrictions on movement in the vicinity of Prague Castle. The National Gallery which has expositions in the Šternberg and Schwarzenberg palaces on Hradčany Square and the St. George Basilica has said it plans to close them down for three days in view of the heightened security requirements.
Close to half a million people have signed a petition calling for juvenile murderers to remain under medical supervision for life. The petition is organized by the mayor of Kmetiněves, where a 13-year-old schoolboy raped and murdered a girl from his class in 2004. Because of his age he was sent to a correctional institute for juveniles where he underwent medical treatment. He was released in January of this year after reaching the age of 18. Since he committed the murder as a juvenile he will have no criminal record and it is up to him whether he will continue in his medical treatment. Doctors concluded that he suffers from a sexual deviation which requires permanent medical supervision.
A thirty-nine-year old mother who abandoned her newly-born twins in hospital has returned to claim them. The woman left the hospital at night without telling anyone and failed to return for two days. She said later she had gone home to look after her eleven other children. Since she left the twins in good care the mother will not face charges of negligence. The twin boys are said to be in good health and their mother is once again nursing them.
Traffic police are out in force for the Easter weekend, a police spokeswoman said on Saturday, noting that particular attention was being paid to bikers. The first and last day of the Easter holidays usually bring heavy traffic and a heightened number of accidents and fatalities on the road. Last year the police registered 753 accidents over the Easter holidays and 15 road deaths. In addition to more people drinking and driving during the Easter holidays, police say there is also a danger of slippery roads since nighttime lows are expected to drop to freezing point on Monday.
The Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva is to visit the Czech Republic in mid-April. The Portuguese head of state and first lady will be in Prague for three days at the invitation of President Vaclav Klaus. President Silva is expected to meet with Czech top officials, attend a state dinner and as a professor of economy, he is also expected to address a business seminar at Prague’s Hilton Hotel.
The Czech health authorities are preparing to conduct a number of fresh surveys regarding the number of overweight and obese people in the Czech population. Doctors say that Czechs generally see obesity as an esthetic problem and pay little attention to the fact that it brings serious health problems. The last surveys conducted in 2008 showed that over 50 percent of Czechs have a weight problem. Thirty percent of those tested were found to be overweight, twenty five percent were obese. This is attributed to a sedentary lifestyle, stress and fast food.
Towns in Central Bohemia have urged the regional authorities to speed up the process of fixing pot-holes on roads and highways in the region since they present a serious threat to drivers. The state of all Czech roads is particularly bad this year, after the long, harsh winter, and a large slice of the money which was reserved for maintenance was spent on extra salt for the roads during the winter months. With the overall road-maintenance budget smaller because of the economic crisis, many towns fear that roads in their vicinity may be left untouched.
The film Protektor directed by Marek Najbrt won the Kristian award at the international Prague film festival Febiofest which ended with a gala ceremony on Friday night. Jiri Barta’s film In the Attic was voted best animated film of 2009. Welcome to Korea by Linda Jablonska received the critics’ prize for best documentary. Swiss actor Bruno Ganz – who has starred in such films as The Downfall, Wings of Desire, and The American Friend, was presented with a special prize recognizing his contribution to cinema. The festival saw 184 films from 57 countries screened.
Czech Tomas Berdych continued his upset run at the Miami Masters on Friday, toppling fifth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-2 to reach the final. Berdych, the 16th seed who upset world number one Roger Federer in the fourth round, needed just 68 minutes to dispatch Soderling and book a showdown with American Andy Roddick in Sunday's final.