Czech President Václav Klaus on Saturday rejected calls by the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, for further European integration as a way of dealing with the bloc’s debt crisis. Speaking at a meeting of the presidents of the Visegrad Group countries, Mr Klaus said Mr Barroso was ‘tragically wrong’ as accelerating European integration was behind Europe’s problem today, according to Mr Klaus. His idea was however not shared by other participants at the meeting, the presidents of Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
Hundreds of people gathered in Ústí nad Labem, in the north of the country, on Saturday for an anti-Romany rally. The participants, protesting against “parasitism of the inadaptables”, marched through the city, shouting nationalist and racist slogans; the crowd was headed by members of the extremist Workers’ Party of Social Justice, the news website idnes.cz reported. Some 500 police officers oversaw the event, the latest in a series of anti-Romany rallies held in north Bohemia towns in recent months amidst rising ethnic tensions between Romanies and ethnic Czechs.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas will travel to the US later this month where he will meet President Barack Obama, the prime minister’s office said on Friday, adding the agenda will include economic and trade relations between their countries. Mr Nečas is scheduled to arrive in the US on October 26 and will meet the US President in the White House the following day. The Czech prime minister will then attend a reception at the Czech embassy in Washington marking the national holiday of October 28 before returning to Prague. The invitation for Mr Nečas, the first since both officials took office, notably omits the Czech head of state, President Václav Klaus, who has met the US president several times at various occasions but was never received an invitation from Mr Obama or his predecessor, George W. Bush, to the White House.
Communist Senator Jaroslav Doubrava has come under criticism for quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his speech in the Senate on Friday. In a debate about raising the VAT on books and other printed materials, Mr Doubrava mentioned the Protocols and said they offered an interesting view on the press. Other senators, mainly from the Civic Democrat party, criticized Mr Doubrava, and suggested the upper house passes a resolution distancing itself from his words. However, the communist senator later apologized for having referred to the anti-Semitic pamphlet.
The Czech National Socialist Party, a minor centre-left group with a long
tradition but negligible voter support, on Saturday expelled its chairman,
Karel Janek, to open the door for ex-Social Democrat leader and former
Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek. The move comes a day after Mr Paroubek
confirmed speculations and quit the Social Democrat party which he led
between 2006 and 2010; he said he was going to form a new group party that
would later merge with the National Socialists.
After what turned out to be a defeat in the 2010 general elections, Mr Paroubek was ousted as Social Democrat chairman but kept his seat in the lower house. On Friday, two other MPs quit the Social Democrat party with him.
Fifteen Czech films will compete for the main award at the upcoming 15th Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, a spokeswoman for the festival said on Saturaday. Eleven of them will premiere at the festival which begins on October 25 in the city of Jihlava. Five Czech documentary films will participate in the festival’s political section, entitled ZOON Politikon.
The police in Prague arrested on Saturday a 31-year-old man who allegedly repeatedly raped a 20-year-old woman in the capital on September 17. The man met the woman in a park at around 4 AM; when she asked the way. He pulled her in the courtyard of nearby building, beat her and repeatedly raped her; the suspect also robbed the woman and released her after three hours. If convicted, the man faces up to 12 years in prison.
The Czech national football team lost to Spain 2:0 in Prague on Friday, in a qualifying game for the EURO 2012. The Spaniards eased their way past the Czechs, scoring twice early in the game. The hosts showed a great deal of respect for the reigning world and European champions, and only picked up some courage before half time but Michal Kadles, Tomáš Rosický and Milan Baroš failed to convert some of the rare opportunities. The visitors, who had already qualified for the Euro cup, dominated the game, showing a far superior play. The Czechs now rank second in the qualification’s I Group, two points ahead of Scotland.
The current spell of cold and wet weather brought on Saturday the season’s first snow to Czech mountains. In Šumava, in the south-west of the country, up to three centimeters of fresh snow fell overnight in areas higher than 1,000 metres above sea level. First snow also fell in the Krušné hory mountains in the north-west, in the Krkonoše in the north, and Jeseníky in the north east of the country. Meteorologists expect no more snowing in the coming days due to less precipitation and higher temperatures.
Canada will postpone the cancellation of visa requirements for Czechs, possibly due to racial tensions in Northern Bohemia. Canada initiated visa requirements for Czechs in 2009 due to a large influx of Roma seeking asylum there on grounds of racial discrimination in the Czech Republic. A new asylum system was supposed to be launched in late 2011 and would allow Czechs to travel to the country without a visa. However, according to the news website Aktualne.cz, than plan has been delayed until next summer. The Canadian embassy in Prague told the website that it is monitoring the situation in Northern Bohemia, where racial tension has caused violence and demonstrations in recent months.