The Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, currently on a visit to Prague, has welcomed a decision by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators to restore some humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Mr al-Faisal, speaking to reporters after meeting his Czech counterpart Cyril Svoboda, said he welcomed the move by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. The Saudi foreign minister is also set to meet President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek.
The famous Prague Spring classical music festival is due to start on Thursday evening, with a concert at Prague's Obecni Dum hall. The concert celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and to commemorate the event the Czech Philharmonic will play the same three pieces of music that were performed at the inaugural concert in 1946.
A court has ordered the city of Prague to pay more than 110,000 dollars in compensation to a British tourist who was seriously injured when a Christmas tree fell on him in December 2003. Malcolm Tuffin's spine and femur bones were fractured when strong winds brought down the 30-metre tree in a crowded Christmas market on Prague's Old Town Square. Mr Tuffin is now confined to a wheelchair.
President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed the proposed new Labour Code. Mr Klaus said the bill in its current form lacked important reforms and failed to tackle problems facing the modern work environment. The bill was pushed through parliament by the Social Democrats with the help of the opposition Communist Party. Right-wing parties oppose the bill, saying it gives trade unions too much power and threatens business competitiveness.
A 14 year-old boy died tragically on Tuesday evening during an attempt to clear a football field in order to mow the lawn. After a game of football, in the south Moravian village of Velke Opatovice, the boy and his team mates tried to move the goal posts when they suddenly lost their grip on the heavy iron posts. The boy was hit on the head and died on the spot.
Heads will roll in connection with last week's police action against the
head of the government's human rights section, Katerina Jacques, the Czech
Police chief Vladislav Husak announced on Wednesday. Ms Jacques, a
candidate for the opposition Green Party in the upcoming parliamentary
elections, says she was beaten by a police officer when she refused to
stop protesting against a May Day neo-Nazi demonstration in the Prague 2
district. The police officer will most likely be charged with the abuse of
power, causing bodily harm, and limiting personal freedoms.
As of May 15, the head of the Prague 2 police headquarters and his deputy will no longer hold their posts; disciplinary proceedings against the representative of the Prague Police have been launched. The incident has also cost police president Husak his promotion to the rank of General. Police psychologists will be present at all major operations in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
The state has decided to offer all those who lost their homes to this year's floods a one-off sum of 150,000 crowns (a little over 6,800 US dollars) in compensation. The state will also help cover demolition costs, the Czech government decided on Wednesday. Most of the houses destroyed lie in southern Bohemia, a Regional Development Ministry assessment says. The compensation will be taken out of a 5 billion crown budget earmarked for flood relief by cabinet earlier this year.
Cabinet has removed two executive board members of the state bail-out
agency, Ceska Konsolidacni Agentura (CKA), from their posts. The
dismissal has come in reaction to a recent CKA financial scandal in
which half a billion crowns (close to 21 million US dollars)
disappeared from the accounts of the company's subsidiary IMOB. The
money was secretly transferred to a Swiss bank by IMOB director Jan
Mr Sik has been relieved of all posts and is under investigation for fraud and embezzlement. The IMOB supervisory board chairman has also resigned, though stressing he knew nothing of Mr Sik's plans. The two CKA executive board members have been dismissed for failing to prevent the transaction.
The lower house has rejected a bill on compulsory property declarations for people with assets over 10 million crowns (417,000 dollars). The bill, put forward by the Communist Party, was rejected by the right-of-centre parties in parliament as well as the Social Democrats who say they are preparing their own version to push through after the upcoming elections. Only 38 out of the 107 MPs present voted for the bill.
President Vaclav Klaus has received an honorary doctorate from London's City University. At the ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Klaus said he views this distinction as an appreciation of the Czech Republic as a whole. In a modern world full of e-mail, SMS messaging, and misleading headlines, Mr Klaus says, universities are essential because they offer an environment for constructive criticism and sober and educated debate. During his visit to London, the Czech President also met with the newly elected British Conservative Party leader, David Cameron.