Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said he will dismiss Pavel Pribyl, his controversial choice as head of the Office of the Government, if it is proven that Mr Pribyl beat up demonstrators while a member of a communist police unit in January 1989. Mr Gross made the pledge to film director Bretislav Rychlik, one of a group of artists and former dissidents who called for Mr Pribyl's sacking outside the Office of the Government on Tuesday morning. Speaking in the daily Mlada fronta Dnes Pavel Pribyl admitted leading the riot unit, but said he himself had not been on the front lines.
Well-known lawyer Kolja Kubicek has been given a two-year sentence suspended for four years, after being found guilty of blackmail. The Prague 6 District Court heard that he had told a plaintiff that if he did not withdraw a charge against a client of Mr Kubicek's he would be involved in a car crash, or would be accused of drug dealing. The lawyer, who has defended contract killer Jiri Kajinek and former Communist politician Karel Hoffmann, immediately appealed the verdict.
Vladimir Ruzicka will coach the Czech ice hockey team at the forthcoming World Cup, following the tragic death of Ivan Hlinka on Monday. The 1998 Olympic winning Czech team coached by Hlinka was captained by Ruzicka, and the two men were good friends. The Czech Extraliga is expected to start a week later than planned, to accommodate Ruzicka, who coaches the club Slavia Prague.
As talks continue on the policy programme of the new government, the leader of the Christian Democrats, Miroslav Kalousek, said the introduction of state allowances for all children was extremely unlikely. His statement contradicts Prime Minister Gross, who said on Monday that children's allowances for all had been agreed on. The coalition is expected to publish its joint programme on Thursday.
An unseeded Czech tennis player, Tomas Berdych, age 18, has upset world number one Roger Federer in three sets, beating the Wimbledon champion 6-4 5-7 5-7 in the second round match on Tuesday. Berdych will now play Spain's 15th seed, Tommy Robredo, in the next round. Meanwhile, Czech tennis number one Jiri Novak has been knocked out in the second round at the Olympic Games in Athens; Novak was beaten 4-6 3-6 by Mikhail Youzhny of Russia on Tuesday. Meanwhile, shooter Martin Tenk, who took bronze at the Sydney Olympics, failed to reach the final in the 50 metres free pistol event. And the last Czech table tennis player in Athens, Petr Korbel, was knocked out in the third round.
The authors of a petition calling for the removal of the newly appointed Government Office head, Pavel Pribyl, have organised a protest outside of the Cabinet headquarters for Tuesday morning. Mr Pribyl is alleged to have led a police anti-riot unit in 1989 that was sent to break-up anti-communist demonstrations. Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has rejected calls for Mr Pribyl's dismissal, saying he was merely "in training" for that position, adding that as he has passed an Interior Ministry screening process, Mr Pribyl was found not to have collaborated with the former regime in any "significant" way.
All eight of the girls who were hospitalised on Saturday due to carbon monoxide poisoning sustained during an ice hockey tournament in Kladno, just outside of Prague, have been treated and released. Investigators said that a faulty valve on the motor of a Zamboni ice-cleaning machine was to blame for the incident.
The coach of the Czech national hockey team, Ivan Hlinka, has died in hospital from injuries sustained in a car accident on Monday morning. Mr Hlinka was returning to Prague from the spa town of Karlovy Vary when his car collided head on with a truck going the opposite direction. The truck driver is reportedly at fault, having poorly timed an attempt to overtake another car. Ivan Hlinka, aged 54, was best known for leading the Czech hockey team to victory in the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Nagano, Japan.
The company Royal Praha will close all three of the casinos it operates in the Czech Republic, including Casino Royal in downtown Prague, which was the scene of an Aug. 1 grenade attack. The incident left 18 people injured and is being treated as a failed attempt to kill its owner, Israeli national Assaf Abutboul. Since the attack, the government has pledged to tighten controls on casinos.
About 50 well known personalities have signed a petition demanding the resignation of Government Office head Pavel Pribyl. Pribyl took office last week and it has since emerged that in 1989 he headed a police unit that was sent to break up anti-communist protests in the streets of Prague. The organizers of the petition are planning to stage a protest outside the Czech government building on Tuesday morning, when the Cabinet is due to meet.