Czechs have been marking the 92nd anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Several events are being held on what is a state holiday to commemorate the establishment of the pre-cursor to the modern-day Czech Republic on October 28, 1918. The most significant include a ceremony at the national military memorial at Vítkov in Prague, and the presentation of state honours by President Václav Klaus at Prague Castle. Among the expected recipients this year are ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr, National Gallery director Milan Knížák and film critic Eva Zaoralová.
The European Commission is taking the Czech Republic to court over a contract for military transport planes. The Commission says Prague breached competition rules by purchasing four CASA planes worth EUR 130-million without launching an EU-wide tender. The purchase was approved last year by a Czech government headed by Mirek Topolánek. The Czech antitrust agency, meanwhile, is investigating the awarding of a contract to the company Omnipol to service the CASA planes, which also took place without a tender.
The Czech prime minister says that if the European Union’s Lisbon treaty is amended then the changes may have to be put to a referendum in the Czech Republic. Petr Nečas made the comments on his way to a summit in Brussels at which EU leaders were expected to debate modifying the treaty to include sanctions for members who fail to fulfill budgetary regulations. Mr Nečas said the Czech government had been advised by lawyers that a temporary loss of voting rights for breaching such rules would contravene the country’s constitution.
On his way to Brussels the Czech prime minister also reacted to a complaint from Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg that he did not know what Mr Nečas had agreed with President Václav Klaus ahead of the summit. The prime minister told Czech Television he had no formal or informal duty to discuss his talks with Mr Klaus with anybody else. He said no minister had any business interfering in the relationship between the prime minister and the president. Mr Nečas also said out that the foreign minister had made comments recently about France’s treatment of Romanies without first consulting him.
A man who had been missing since his car repair shop was destroyed in flooding in the Liberec region in August was found hanged early this week, the news website novinky.cz reported. The body of the man, who was 37, was found by a passer-by in a wood near his home in Nová Ves, police said. He had been reported missing days after some of the worst flooding to hit the region in many years.
Around 150 people took part in a search for a missing girl in Prague on
Wednesday. The search, which did not turn up any new clues as to her
whereabouts, took place in the district of Troja, where Anna Janatková,
aged 9, was last seen on October 13. Police said the mass search would be
the last of its kind and that detectives would now continue the
A 41-year-old man was charged with the girl’s kidnapping last Friday, but then released after a judge refused to remand him in custody. Earlier this week police requested that the media not reveal any fresh details of the investigation into the girl’s disappearance.
The Czech Republic’s first “forest” nursery school in which children spend the day outside rather than in a classroom has been operating in the Prague district of Hostivař since September, Hospodářské noviny reported. The children, aged from 3 to 6, spend all of their time out of doors, whatever the weather, and only go to a school building for lunch, the newspaper said. There are plans to purchase a portacabin to be used during snowstorms.
The Czech Republic’s 40th “baby box” has been officially opened at a hospital in Hodonín, south Moravia. Since the first was opened in 2005, 36 unwanted babies have been left safely and anonymously in such heated incubators. The man behind the system, Ludvík Hess, told the news site denik.cz that the latest baby box was being opened on Thursday as he had been nominated to receive an official state honour from the president on that day.
The former Czech football international Pavel Nedvěd has been appointed to the board of directors of the Italian club Juventus. Nedvěd, who is close to Juve’s president Andrea Agnelli, was a huge success during a seven-year playing career at the club, and was named European player of the year in 2003. He made 91 appearances for the Czech Republic, captaining the side for several years.
Czech ice hockey goaltender Michal Neuvirth notched up the first shutout of his career in the NHL on Wednesday, stopping 29 shots as his club Washington Capitals beat Carolina Hurricanes 3:0. Neuvirth, who is only 22, has played for Washington in eight of their nine games this season, including six victories.