Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is one of 100 influential figures who have signed an open letter calling on European Union and NATO member states to change their approach to Russia, where they say President Vladimir Putin is using the Beslan school massacre as a pretext to undermining democracy in the country. Other signatories include former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt and political scientist Francis Fukuyama.
Cage beds may be used in social care institutions in cases where clients threaten their own health or the health of others, according to new rules approved by the government on Wednesday. The use of cage beds would also have to be registered under the regulations, which have yet to be discussed by parliament. Former health minister Josef Kubinyi banned cage beds in July, after criticism by Joanne Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books.
The Supreme Audit Office has criticised the manner in which the Defence Ministry spent NATO funds between 1999 and 2003. The Office pointed to inconsistencies, poor accounting and confusion in the Ministry's records in a report released on Wednesday. The Defence Ministry's right hand often did not know what its left hand was doing, said a spokesman for the Supreme Audit Office.
Jaroslav Svoboda of the Dallas Stars agreed on Monday to play for a Czech hockey team, raising to 173 the number of National Hockey League players set to compete in Europe during the NHL lockout. Svoboda, a forward, will play for Olomouc. One hundred and seventy three NHL players have agreed to play for Euroean teams during the lockout; the Czech league will have nearly 50 NHL players, including Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers.
Tuesday is St Wenceslas Day, an official state holiday in the Czech Republic, marking the death of the nation's patron saint. As is the tradition on this "Day of Czech Statehood," Prague Castle, as well as town halls and churches throughout the country, are holding celebrations to commemorate the martyrdom of Prince Wenceslas, who was killed on this day in the year 935 by his brother Boleslav. For the holiday, Radio Prague is broadcasting the English-language world premiere of former president Vaclav Havel's 1968 radio play "Guardian Angel".
Some 300 people demonstrated on the main square of the Czech border town of Cheb on Tuesday against the supposed "Germanisation" of the Czech Republic and its loss of sovereignty. The Club of Czech Demonstrators (KCP) was protesting against what members see as excessive German ownership of formerly fully Czech-owned businesses.
A 22-year-old university student fell to his death from the window of his seventh-floor dormitory room in Plzen during the early hours of Tuesday morning. The young man's roommates told police they had gone to bed Monday night without incident. The students had been drinking and initial information points to an unfortunate accident rather than suicide or foul play.
Tereza Hurikova of the Czech Republic won the junior time trial to take home the first gold medal and rainbow jersey of the world road cycling championships, which got underway in Italy on Monday. Hurikova had lost three minutes fixing a mechanical failure on her bike which cost her the lead at the cross country worlds. This month she won a bronze medal in the junior race at the cross country worlds in France.
Czech senator Petr Pithart was made a knight of France's "Legion of Honour" on Tuesday. The ceremony, presided over by Christian Poncelet, the president of the French senate, took place at the historic Czech embassy in Paris. The embassy officially reopens Tuesday night after two years of reconstruction. Poncelet praised Pithart as a former dissident who remained engaged in politics by working to further European integration. He also praised Pithart for supporting the French position during the lead-up to the war in Iraq. Other Czechs in the Legion of Honour include former Czechoslovak presidents Tomas Garrigue Masaryk and Vaclav Havel, as well as the writer Milan Kundera and director Milos Forman.