Seven people were injured by a drunk driver who crashed into a refreshments stall at a tuning party on Saturday night. The driver allegedly lost control of the vehicle and witnesses say he unexpectedly swerved into a crowd of people standing around a refreshments stall. Three people were flown to hospital by helicopter with serious injuries. The others suffered concussion and bruises. The driver has been charged and could face up to three years in prison for drinking and driving and causing grievous bodily harm.
A 46 year old woman priest of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church has gone on hunger strike to protest against alleged undemocratic practices within the Church. Milena Tomesova claims that the church management is blinded by power and ambition and that this clique rules the Czechoslovak Hussite Church with an iron hand and censorship. The church patriarch Jan Schwarz is likewise at war with the management after pointing out to the media that some Hussite churches were demanding fees for christenings and other church ceremonies, which was he said totally unacceptable. The church management is refusing to communicate with the press.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has called on Social Democratic Party MPs to support a bill on same sex registered partnerships which will be presented to parliament next week. The bill which would enable gays and lesbians to enter into a form of marriage has been rejected by Parliament several times in the past, failing to get approved by just one vote on the previous occasion. Although opinion surveys suggest that the public is liberal minded with respect to homosexuals and would support gay marriages, the Christian Democratic Party remains strongly opposed. Likewise some deputies for the Civic Democratic Party and the Communists claim that registered same sex partnerships would undermine the institution of marriage in society.
A 29 year old woman has admitted to killing her boyfriend and chopping him into pieces with a saw, a police spokeswoman said. The murdered man's body parts wrapped in plastic bags, were found by road workers scattered in several locations along a main road near the town of Klatovy. The woman admitted to having committed the murder a fortnight ago but the police say the motive of the crime remains unclear. It could be a disagreement over money or infidelity, a police spokeswoman said.
The Czech Communist party is against the ratification of the EU Constitution in its present form. A meeting of the party's executive committee concluded that following the French and Dutch rejections of the treaty and Britain's decision to shelve its referendum, continuing with plans for ratification was no longer meaningful. The other opposition party on the Czech political scene, the right wing Civic Democrats, have expressed a similar opinion, saying that the treaty was dead and there was no point in wasting time and money on it.
A new witness has appeared in the Koristka bribery case in which the governing coalition accused the opposition of trying to bribe one of the coalition's MPs with the intention of bringing down the government. The case was recently shelved for lack of evidence. Ladislav Sommer, a 58 year old former journalist and writer, has now come forward to say that while sitting in a café in Ostrava he had overheard two men offering Freedom Union deputy Zdenek Koristka 10 million crowns and a promising career in exchange for voting against the coalition government in a planned no-confidence vote. He said he could identify the two men as Vecerek and Dalik, a lobbyist and adviser to the opposition Civic Democrats. The Civic Democrats say this is a smear campaign against them and point out that if this were true Sommer should have come forward while the case was still open. Police are investigating the claims.
Charles IV, Holy Roman emperor and King of Bohemia /1316 -1378/ has been elected the Greatest Czech in history. The results of the competition were announced at a gala evening on Czech TV on Friday night. Charles IV brought the Czech lands to unprecedented prosperity, he was a skilled diplomat and peacemaker and a generous patron of learning and the arts. His legacy includes the oldest University in central Europe, the famous Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral, where he was laid to rest in 1378. Charles IV won over 68,000 votes from the public. The founder of Czechoslovakia, president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk came second and the former Czech president Vaclav Havel third.
Meanwhile, the Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has called on European Union leaders to send a strong signal to voters in the Czech Republic which would renew trust in the Constitution and the EU integration process in general. Speaking at a Visegrad group summit in Warsaw, the Czech Prime Minister said the upcoming EU summit in Brussels could have a significant impact on the situation in the Czech Republic, where Euro-scepticism has been on the rise since the French and Dutch rejections of the treaty. Prime Minister Paroubek had been in favour of forging ahead with an information campaign on the EU Constitution, but after consulting with his coalition partners he agreed to shelve that decision pending the outcome of the EU summit in Brussels.
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