President Barack Obama has nominated his advisor Norman Eisen for the post of US ambassador to Prague. The position has been unfilled for nearly a year and a half. Mr Eisen, a lawyer by profession, is a founding member of the NGO Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and advised the American president on issues such as the regulation of lobbying. His appointment has to be approved by the American Senate. Mr Eisen’s mother was born in the former Czechoslovakia.
Civic Democrats leader Petr Nečas has rejected a demand from Public
Affairs that party chairman Radek John become interior minister. The two
parties are in talks with TOP 09 on forming a government coalition. Mr
Nečas said it would be “problematic” if the portfolio was held by a
party linked to a large private security firm, ABL. For their part, Public
Affairs insist on holding the post of interior minister in a new 15-member
Talks on forming a new government have run into difficulties over the filling of ministerial positions, how to combat corruption and other issues. The three parties say they aim to sign a coalition agreement by the end of the first week of July. Between them they would have 118 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.
A Prague court has ordered the Czech Interior Ministry to pay compensation to two victims of police brutality. Pavel Kuchář will receive CZK 60,000 and Ondřej Holous CZK 40,000 after police officers were ruled to have used excessive force against them during an operation aimed at breaking up a free techno music festival in 2005. The two, who were appealing against a previous ruling in which they got less compensation, told the court that the police had beaten them up and then aimed tear gas at them after they had been restrained. The police’s response to the unauthorised Czechtek festival provoked a heated debate at the time.
Investigators say a train that crashed in Ústí nad Labem on Monday killing its driver was travelling at 108 kilometres per hour, over twice the permitted speed of 50 kilometres per hour. However, a spokesperson for Czech Railways said it was not possible to rule out a technical fault. Eleven people were injured when the inter city train was derailed and crashed into a wall in the north Bohemian town.
Pope Benedict XVI has presented the head of the Roman Catholic church, Archbishop Dominik Duka, with a pallium, a woollen cloak that symbolises the jurisdiction delegated to him by the Vatican. The Czech cleric took possession of the vestment in Rome on Tuesday. A former bishop of Hradec Kralové, he replaced Miloslav Vlk as Prague archbishop in April.
Former Czech president Václav Havel is to begin filming an adaptation of his play Leaving on Thursday, the newspaper Lidové noviny reported. Shooting will take place over two months in the east Bohemian town of Česká Skalice. Mr Havel is making his debut as a film director at the age of 73. Leaving, which was first performed on stage in 2008, concerns a chancellor who quits power and enters the political wilderness.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has appointed Kamil Janáček to the board of the Czech National Bank. Mr Janáček is an economics professor and the chief economist of Komerční banka. At the same time, Mr Klaus promoted Vladimír Tomšík to vice-governor, as a replacement for Miroslav Singer, who was recently appointed central bank governor following the departure of Zdeněk Tůma.
Over 60 percent of the fruit and vegetables sold in the Czech Republic are imported, and that share of the market continues to grow, the head of the Czech vegetable growers organisation said on Tuesday. Jaroslav Zeman said some types of imported greens on Czech shop shelves could be grown in the Czech Republic, describing the battle against products from other countries as the biggest problem facing his industry. The Netherlands is the most common country of origin, with tomatoes the most commonly imported item in this area, he said.
An exhibition of the work of German artist Hans von Aachen gets underway at Prague Castle on Tuesday. One of the highlights of the travelling show is a portrait, believed to be from 1605, of the Holy Roman emperor and king of Bohemia Rudolph II. Von Aachen served as a court painter and art buyer for the Hapsburg monarch in Prague at the start of the 17th century.
The Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has sensationally reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon. Kvitová, who is 20, had already caused one upset by knocking out fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career. On Tuesday afternoon she went one better, returning five match balls on her way to a 4-6 7-6 8-6 victory over Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. On Wednesday Tomáš Berdych will play Roger Federer in the men’s quarter-finals, after overcoming the German player Daniel Brands. The Czech number one recently got to the semi-finals at the French Open, his greatest success to date at a Grand Slam tournament.