Fares on public transport in Prague are to rise significantly from next month, the city's municipal authority has announced. The cost of a single non-transfer ticket will increase from 12 to 20 crowns (or from around 50 US cents to almost a dollar). Critics say the price rises could lead to more people using cars in the city.
The Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, has threatened to ban President
Vaclav Klaus from travelling abroad if the president contradicts the
government's foreign policy. The prime minister said Mr Klaus - who is
opposed to European integration and the EU constitution - was a servant of
the state who should reflect the position of the cabinet, which sets
foreign policy under the Czech constitution. The government approves all
trips by the president in what is normally a routine decision.
Earlier this week Mr Paroubek said in an interview with London's Financial Times that the president was exceeding his constitutional powers by campaigning against the EU constitution. Ratifying the document is one of the government's key policy objectives.
Mr Klaus's party the Civic Democrats have called on the prime minister to explain his comments in the lower house. The party has likened Mr Paroubek's statement to the practices of the Communist regime, saying it was an attempt to stifle free debate on an important issue which affected all Czech citizens.
Investigative reporter Sabina Slonkova has been given the Karel Havlicek Borovsky award for journalism. Ms Slonkova, who writes for the daily Hospordarske noviny, was herself in the news two years ago when the police foiled a plan to kill her by former Foreign Ministry official Karel Srba; he ordered a contract killing after she reported on some of his dubious dealings at the ministry.
Vladimir Smicer and Milan Baros have become the first Czechs to play in the final of the football's biggest club competition, the Champions League. Smicer scored a fine goal for Liverpool and also converted the club's final penalty in a shoot out after the game against AC Milan ended 3:3. After six years at Liverpool, the 32-year-old is set to leave in the summer, while Milan Baros, who is 24, may also join a new club.
Meanwhile, ex-president Vaclav Havel has spoken in defence of former dissidents who protested against a statement by President Klaus; he warned of the dangers of unelected non-governmental organisations influencing public life. Mr Havel - who is himself the country's best known former dissident - said his old allies were seen by some as society's bad conscience. He said they were proof that it was possible to behave differently and not conform. The former president is currently in Washington, where he is just completing a two-month study stay.
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.
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.
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.
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