The minister of defence, Jiri Sedivy, believes it would be better for
the Czech Republic to take part in a United States anti-missile defence
system as part of NATO, rather than with the US alone. Speaking in
Saturday's Pravo, Mr Sedivy said if the system was developed through
NATO it could increase the cohesion of the alliance in the long term.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's ambassador to NATO, Stefan Fule, said the US was apparently going to decide on the most suitable location for a proposed base in central Europe after a NATO summit in November. US military experts have visited potential sites in the Czech Republic, though Poland is also in the running to host the base.
The head of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, has called on Civic Democrat prime minister Mirek Topolanek to resign, following the launching of an investigation into alleged fraud at a company formerly co-owned by Mr Topolanek. It was reported on Friday that the police were looking into allegations the prime minister and his then partners in the firm VAE obtained a 67-million-crown loan (3 million USD) from a bank but did not repay it in its entirety. Mr Topolanek says the investigation does not concern him directly.
The Czech Republic and the other nine countries which joined the European
Union in 2004 face a delay of at least a year before borders with the EU's
15 other states are opened, according to a European Commission report
quoted by Reuters. The EU had previously planned to let the 10 states into
its border-free Schengen area in October 2007 - the European Commission now
says technical and legal problems will probably mean that Schengen will not
be expanded until October 2008.
The Czech Republic and a number of other countries had called earlier in the week for the original timetable to be respected.
A Czech man has been sentenced to life in prison in the United States for the brutal murder of his Brazilian girlfriend last year. A court in Denver ruled that 23-year-old Martin Novotny, who gave himself up to police hours after the killing, must serve the whole term. Czech consul Tomas Kadlec said he was surprised by the severity of the sentence.
Units from the anti-corruption police division arrested Petr Smetka in Prague mid-day Friday, on the basis of a court order. Mr. Smetka was transported to Pankrac prison where he begins serving a 12-year sentence for his role in an embezzling scheme. According to the Prague Municipal Court, the extraordinary order to have Mr. Smetka taken into custody came after he disobeyed a June court ruling, preventing him from accessing assets set aside to compensate clients who lost money when H - System, a construction company that Mr. Smetka founded, went under. At least 1095 people lost a total of over 980 million crowns (nearly $44 million US) in the fraud scheme.
A new internet game called Total Burnout of Lidice has appeared in a second variation. The original game was created by ad agency McCann Erickson as an educational tool, to interest young people in the Nazi WWII era destruction of Lidice, a village in central Bohemia; the original game which links website visitors to the Lidice memorial website received approval from the head of the Lidice memorial, Milous Cervencl. But the new, pirated release involves killing, and Mr. Cervencl says that he regrets that good intentions can be twisted in such cruel ways. The creators of the pirated game remain anonymous.
The Prague districts of Zizkov, Vinohrady and a portion of Prague 1 was left without electricity on Friday morning, when four transformers failed at 10:36am. The electrical failure left trams in Zizkov standing, and the metro was also affected for a short time. Experts agree that a technical failure is to blame.