A technical problem with a government plane that left the foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, grounded in Mauritania for 27 hours has led to a row between the Foreign and Defence Ministries, Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. Mr Svoboda said his ministry resented the failure of the Defence Ministry to deal adequately with the situation. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Karel Kuhnl said he would push for the modernisation of the government's fleet of planes to be brought forward.
Almost half the restaurants, pubs and stands in the centre of Karlovy Vary have been overcharging customers or otherwise breaking regulations during the town's film festival, a five-day survey by the Czech Business Inspectorate has found. Twenty wrong-doers were fined during the checks, the website noviny.cz reports.
Czech Muslims have strongly condemned the London bombings, for which an Islamist terrorist group has claimed responsibility. In a statement, the Brno-based Islamic Foundation expressed solidarity with the victims and their families and condemned those who, they said, abused the word of God in an attempt to justify their crimes.
The police have charged the wife of fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir with money laundering and seized the couple's luxury home near Prague. Mr Krejcir recently absconded during a police search of the villa, and is believed to have fled the Czech Republic. Katerina Krejcirova faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty of money laundering.
The police have detained 24 illegal refugees, whom they found packed in the back of a lorry during a routine check on the D1 highway from Brno to Prague. Their detection caused a minor incident on the road when some of the refugees attacked the officers while the others ran for cover. Police re-enforcements finally rounded up the whole group. They are all Chinese nationals and have been placed in a detention centre, pending further questioning and possibly expulsion.
The Security Council is meeting to discuss security issues in the wake of Thursday's terrorist attacks in London. Security measures have already been tightened around the country with increased police patrols in the city centre, at airports and railway stations, power plants and all buildings deemed sensitive, including the headquarters of Radio Free Europe. Following a meeting with the country's intelligence services Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said he had no information indicating a possible terrorist attack on Czech territory, but said that greater precautions would be necessary in the coming days and weeks.
The Ombudsman Otakar Motejl says that he does not have evidence to suggest that the former communist regime ordered enforced sterilization of Romany women. Close to eighty Romany women have written to the Ombudsman complaining that they were sterilized after giving birth without authorizing the procedure. The cases go back over a 30 year period and the Ombudsman told journalists that, serious as the matter was, closer investigation suggested that the cases were isolated incidents rather than an ordained practice. They allegedly happened in different hospitals and at different times and could not be linked to a given person or institution. The Human Rights League, which has also been monitoring the problem, does not agree, claiming that the former communist regime ordered the practice and that Romany women were bribed with money to agree to be sterilized.
A young man who got into a fight with a tram driver has been served 200 hours of community service by a Prague court. The twenty three year old was allegedly making trouble and holding up the tram by blocking its back doors. When the tram driver came round to investigate and asked him to desist they got into a fight in which the driver got both his arms broken.
Seven Czechs believed to have been in the centre of London at the time of the bombings have so far failed to contact their relatives in the Czech Republic. The Foreign Ministry has established a hot line where people with missing friends and relatives can get more information. Over seventy Czechs staying in Britain contacted their families within 24 hours, and the ministry says it will wait until Friday night before giving the names of the people still unaccounted for to the British authorities.
A state-funded international centre for clinical research will most likely be opened in the Moravian capital of Brno, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Martin Jahn said on Thursday. The plan is part of the National Innovation Policy, under which results of research are to be put into practice by 2010. This goal is to be reached by putting one percent of the GDP into research and development, making it easier to acquire grants, and making technology and mathematics subjects more attractive at universities. The policy was approved by the government on Thursday. Mr Jahn's office expects to present a more detailed plan on the establishment of the clinical research centre in the next month.