The presidents of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, meeting on the
second day of a two-day Visegrad 4 summit in Slovakia’s High Tatras,
expressed differences in their stance on Ukraine regarding the case of
jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. According to the Czech news
agency, all agreed not to boycott this summer’s Euro 2012 football
championship (jointly-hosted by Ukraine and Poland) but, for example,
President Václav Klaus has chosen not to attend an upcoming summit in
Yalta. More than ten statesmen have chosen to boycott the planned summit
protest over how Ukraine’s former prime minister is being treated behind
Mr Klaus stressed there had been no change in his position, in the past having asked Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, for assurances that Mrs. Tymoshenko’s trial was not a political one. Slovakia’s President Ivan Gasparovic and Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, however, will attend; Mr. Klaus said he respected their decisions, not least because their countries, unlike the Czech Republic, both border Ukraine.
Trade union representatives will not return to tripartite talks to discuss
planned strike legislation, the head of the independent unions Bohumír
Dufek said in a TV debate programme on Sunday. Union leaders said last
that they would return to the negotiating table with the government and
employers only when there was a new cabinet or the current centre-right
government put the brakes on planned reforms. The head of the trade
union’s umbrella organisation ČMKOS, Jaroslav Zavadil, will reportedly
arrive for talks to be held on May 10, but only to outline the unions’
Representatives are planning on organizing a number of protests – including a strike. The unions most recently called for the government to step down following the splintering of its smallest party, Public Affairs, into a new faction and following the departure of Public Affairs from government. As a result Prime Minister Petr Nečas called a vote of confidence that the government survived with 105 votes in the lower house.
Presidential hopeful Přemysl Sobotka won his party’s opening primaries on Saturday, defeating lone party rival Evžen Tošenovský. The deputy speaker of the upper house received 404 votes, compared to the Euro MP’s 141 in Pardubice and Hradec Králové – two of the country’s 14 regions. Mr Sobotka said that while the contest in his party to elect a candidate was just beginning, he had received a boost into the next stages. The party primaries will continue through June, with the winner being officially announced on July 1.
A 20-year-old parachutist and foreign national was killed on Saturday during a jump at an airfield near Plzeň, the Czech news agency ČTK reports. The tragedy took place at around 5 pm; according to a police spokeswoman, the young man fell around 40 or 50 metres. Emergency workers were unable to resuscitate the jumper, whose injuries were too extensive. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, including the possibility that the parachutist somehow became unfastened from his chute.
Police evicted around 20 squatters from well-known Prague ruins of an estate known as Cibulka in Prague 5 on Sunday morning, a police spokeswoman has revealed. Officers during the night checked IDs from among 50 individuals who were allegedly disturbing the peace. Police also questioned the organiser of a screening at the site which ended at around 10 pm and was apparently unrelated. The history of Cibulka dates all the way back to the 14th century, news website ČTK pointed out; one of the squatters evicted admitted Saturday was not the first night she had spent at the run-down site.
Organisers had to settle for 762 would-be zombies at this year’s Prague Zombie Walk which took place on Saturday - short of a record 1,000 they had hoped to gather for a photo in front of Prague’s Rudolfinum. The annual event (inspired by similar happenings in other European as well as US cities) celebrates a genre founded by American filmmaker George A. Romero. His films The Night of the Living Dead and the 1978 horror classic Dawn of the Dead – earned popularity by showing the difficulty of survival under apocalyptic conditions. The genre has since inspired numerous comic and TV series (such as The Walking Dead). Zombies in Prague, as well as some of their ‘victims’, walked from Malá strana’s Kampa and across Charles Bridge to the Rudolfinum Concert Hall; the day also saw several additional events including a concert and after party.
London football club Chelsea, together with star Czech goalie Petr Čech, won the FA Cup on Saturday, defeating rivals Liverpool by a score of 2-1. It is the fourth time in six years that Chelsea clinched the championship and this year has marked a remarkable turn-around for the team, which has struggled to otherwise remain among the top five or so teams in the English Premier League. Later in May, the club will play Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League.
The Czech national hockey team was soundly beaten in its second outing at the World Ice Hockey Championships. The Czechs were downed 4:1 by Sweden, with the Swedes winning each period. The Czechs were only able to get on the scoreboard in the 3rd. After the final whistle, Czech forward David Krejčí shrugged off the loss saying that the team had gelled better than in the opener, indicating it still had a chance to go far. ‘Powerhouse’ Sweden, meanwhile, is being regarded as one of the tournament favourites.
Politicians, army officials, and others marked the 67th anniversary of the start of the Prague Uprising on Saturday, remembering those who raised arms and risked or laid down their lives in the final battle against the Nazi occupiers. In Prague alone in the final days of the war, some 3,700 people were killed. A commemorative event took place at the historic town hall on Old Town Square. One of those to speak, the chairwoman of the lower house Miroslava Němcová, honoured patriots and noted the dark chapter that followed the war, when many of the country’s most courageous were imprisoned by the Communist regime or sentenced to hard labour or marginalized in society.
An audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers has uncovered serious flaws in the running of Šumava National Park from 2009 to January of this year, the news site idnes reports. According to idnes, there are revelations in the audit of possible criminal misconduct: wasteful spending, the holding of non-transparent tenders, and the unclear sales of hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of lumber where pricing decisions depended on a single individual. The audit also suggested that under former park head Frantíšek Krejčík some commissions may have purposely been spread over several months to avoid having to legally call public tenders – something heavily criticised by local mayor Antonín Schubert, who was shown the material this week. South Bohemia’s governor, Jiří Zimola, has said that the results of the audit should be given immediately to the police, so as to assess the seriousness of the findings under the law.