The Czech singer Helena Vondrackova has won a court case against the tabloid daily Blesk. The paper had printed an article in which it claimed that Mrs Vondrackova was unable to have children because of an abortion gone wrong a few years ago. The court has ordered the daily to print an apology on its front page and pay Mrs Vondrackova 250,000 Czech crowns (10,600 US dollars) in compensation.
Alois Hadamczik has been chosen to be the new head coach of the Czech national ice-hockey team. The 52-year old Hadamczik will succeed Vladimir Ruzicka, who, after leading the Czechs to a stunning victory at the World Championship in Austria, has chosen not to renew his contract with the national team so he can concentrate on his Czech elite league team, Slavia Prague. Alois Hadamczik is coach of the Czech junior national team, which won bronze at the World Championship in the United States in January.
The Czech Government is hoping to remove a controversial pig farm in South Bohemia that stands on the site of a former concentration camp by buying it off its owners. During WWII, over one thousand Roma were interned in the Czech-run camp and 326 - many of them children - died under inhumane conditions. The operation of the pig farm, which has stood on the site since the 1970s has been criticised by many, including the European Parliament in an April resolution against the discrimination of the Roma.
The General Director of Czech Radio, Vaclav Kasik, has been elected for another six-year term. Mr Kasik, who stood against head of Czech Radio 1 - Radiozurnal Alexandr Picha and head of the Czech Radio Regina station, Richard Medek, has been in the post of general director since 1999. His second term begins on July 1.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek says he wants to meet with the opposition Civic Democrats in order to agree on the terms of a referendum on the EU constitution. The Prime Minister said he was prepared to back the Civic Democratic Party's bill on a one-off referendum on the EU constitution on condition that the referendum was held simultaneously with the 2006 general elections. Mr. Paroubek said the Social Democrats were willing to abandon their drive for a general referendum law in order to open the way for a plebiscite on the EU constitution but he said he could not compromise on the term of the referendum, since the country could not afford to waste money on two votes within the space of a few months.
Torrential rain and hailstones have damaged homes and property in many parts of the Czech Republic. Insurance companies say they have received hundreds of compensation claims from people living in the south and east of the country. The town of Kojcice south east of Prague was particularly badly hit, with some hailstones the size of hens' eggs. Although meteorologists had warned of approaching torrential rain the locals said they had no idea what was coming. There is damage to field crops, farm animals, roads, the sewage system and even the river embankment. The damage is estimated at several million crowns in Kojcice alone.
Controversy has arisen over a judge President Vaclav Klaus has asked the Senate to approve as a Constitutional Court judge. Pravo reported on Tuesday that Pilsen regional court judge Vlasta Formankova sent a pub landlord to prison in 1980 for insulting a group of Communist functionaries and expelling them from his pub. The publican received a 10-month jail term, later shortened to six months, and the sentence was annulled after the fall of the communist system. While the judge today insists she acted correctly, the landlord's widow says it would be immoral if she was appointed to the Constitutional Court.
Czech tennis players Radek Stepanek, Jiri Novak, Tomas Berdych, Robin Vik and Eva Birnerova all progressed to the second round of the French Open in Paris on the opening day of the tournament. But the most famous Czech at Roland Garros was hockey player Jaromir Jagr, who turned out to support his friend Radek Stepanek, who is the Czech men's number one.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek met with his British counterpart Tony Blair on Monday, at the start of a two day visit to London. The two leaders discussed the ratification of the European Union constitution, further expansion of the EU and the Czech military presence in Iraq. The Czech Republic operates a 100 strong military police training base in southern Iraq and has a small team of surgeons in the country. The mission of the military police base has been extended several times and the Czech prime minister said he was prepared to support another extended term if necessary. During his two day visit to Great Britain, Mr Paroubek will also decorate Czech war veterans at the country's embassy in London.
President Klaus has rejected criticism from former dissidents saying they were "lost" in present day society and incapable of sound judgment. Mr. Klaus aroused their anger recently by saying that non-elected non-governmental organizations /NGOs/ had a dangerous influence on public life. In a letter to the president the dissidents said that discrediting NGOs was an attack on fundamental democratic principles guaranteed by the constitution. The President said that while he appreciated the contribution former dissidents had made in helping to topple the communist regime, he suspected they were still living in the past themselves.
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