This Monday, November 1, the European arrest warrant will be adopted in the Czech Republic. This will allow for Czech citizens, suspected of serious crimes, to be extradited to an EU state and tried abroad. The crimes involved include terrorism, people trafficking, murder, hijacking, rape, and the sexual abuse of children. The aim of the EU arrest warrant is to help tackle cross-border crime, prevent criminals from eluding prosecution, and help in the fight against terrorism and organized crime.
The leader of the Christian Democrats, Miroslav Kalousek, criticised Czech
Police Chief Jiri Kolar in a TV discussion programme on Sunday and said the
police are politically controlled. Last week, the police chief admitted
that widespread bugging was normal police practice and added that it is
nothing to concern people with a clear conscience.
In reaction to his remarks, President Vaclav Klaus and opposition Civic Democratic Party deputies have called on Mr Kolar to resign. While Mr Kalousek agrees, he notes Mr Kolar's resignation will not make a difference as the whole police force is politically controlled and the country's interior ministers have done nothing about it.
A concert of three extreme-right groups held on Saturday night went by without incident. Around 200 skinheads, some of them from neighbouring Austria and Slovakia, attended the event in the Moravian capital Brno. Police, who monitored the concert, arrested one participant who was seen doing the Nazi salute by a photographer from a Czech daily. He was released after police questioning on Sunday morning.
Prime Minister Stanislav Gross would like to hold the referendum on the European constitution at the same time as the parliamentary elections in 2006. After his return from Rome on Friday evening, where he attended a ceremony at which the EU constitution treaty was signed by EU leaders, Mr Gross defended his position by saying it would save the state 300 to 400 million Czech crowns (10-13 million euros) and would also reveal the true position that individual parties have towards the EU. While the ruling coalition parties support Mr Gross' view, the opposition Civic Democrats and President Vaclav Klaus have opposed it.
Unseeded Czech Jiri Novak booked a place in the final of the 989,750-euro ($1.26 million) Swiss Indoors tournament on Saturday with a 6-4 6-0 win over Austria's Stefan Koubek. Jiri Novak, who knocked British world number four Tim Henman out of the tournament on Friday, needed just 50 minutes to see off the Austrian world number 73. He will face either Argentinean fourth seed David Nalbandian or Chilean seventh seed Nicolas Massu in the final.
Some forty maternity homes around the country may have to be closed down, the National Reference Centre for Health Insurance Companies announced on Saturday. The homes have registered less than 500 births a year, which gynaecologists say is a dangerously low number. Doctors in such maternity homes gain little experience and may not be able to handle complicated cases.
Hong Kong and the Czech Republic have agreed to increase bilateral co-operation in culture, education and trade facilitation. Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang met with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and other officials in Prague on Friday. According to Mr Tsang, Hong Kong businesses are looking forward to help Czech enterprises enter the vast Mainland market. Other topics discussed were Hong Kong's increased economic co-operation with China's nine southern provinces, and last month's Legislative Council elections. Mr Tsang also said he was pleased that CzechInvest, the country's investment promotion agency, has established its Southeast Asian regional office in Hong Kong.
Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross was among the many heads of
government or heads of state on Friday to sign the European Union
Constitution at a special ceremony in Rome. He and Foreign Minister Cyril
Svoboda were second in line to do so following representatives from
Belgium; the signing on Friday took place in the lavish "Orazi and
Curiazi" Hall at the Renaissance Campidoglio Palace, the site where
treaties on the original European Economic Community were signed in 1957.
The newly-signed EU Constitution will now need to be ratified individually by all 25 by EU member states, either by referendum, or by parliamentary vote.
The Czech Republic is among nine EU countries that will hold a referendum.
At a ceremony at Prague Castle on Thursday evening, President Vaclav Klaus awarded state medals to twenty-one individuals. The Order of the White Lion, the highest state distinction, was awarded to WWII veterans Frantisek Fajtl, and Rudolf Severin Krzak, the latter honoured in memoriam. Mr Klaus praised those who openly opposed the Communist system and awarded the Order of T.G. Masaryk to men who were persecuted by the regime. Among those who received orders of merit were Olympic medallist Roman Sebrle, legendary film director Otakar Vavra, and famous Czech actress Jana Brejchova.