The Czech Republic and other non-euro zone countries will participate in future euro zone summits, Czech Radio’s flagship station Radiožurnál reported on Saturday, referring to the latest draft of the planned fiscal compact. According to Radiožurnál, states will be eligible providing they sign. Highly-placed sources confirmed that Czech, Polish and Swedish negotiators at a meeting of prime ministers in Brussels had played a key role in pushing through the concession: originally, members of the euro zone had intended to meet on their own. The centre-right Czech government this week approved a 1.5 billion euro loan to the IMF to help contain the debt crisis in the euro zone and gave conditional approval for the Czech Republic to join the emerging fiscal compact – a process that will either have to be ratified by Parliament or in a national referendum.
MP and former head of the Communist Party Miroslav Grebeníček has expressed the suspicion that his party is being spied on by the country’s centre-right government. Mr Grebeníček expressed his concerns in a written message to the prime minister in which he stressed that he had registered information recently that the Interior Ministry and certain intelligence branches had been “tasked” with monitoring his party. He also questioned the prime minister about whether other political parties, including his own right-of-centre Civic Democrats, were being watched. In the Communist MP’s view, such tactics could be pursued to draw public attention away from lobbying, backroom deals and political corruption. Prime Minister Petr Nečas denied the claims outright, stressing in his written reply that intelligence service activities were defined by law; he maintained that no investigation of the Communist Party could be conducted at the behest of the government without lawful reason.
The diary of Michal Kraus (who survived the Holocaust as a boy) was
published on Friday on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance
Day. As a boy, Kraus went through Terezín and later the Auschwitz and
Mauthausen concentration camps where he lost both parents and he survived
two death marches. He wrote his diary shortly after the end of the war but
never published it. He had started writing a diary at home, prior to
deportation but in Auschwitz it was taken away from him. The diary will be
officially presented at the seat of the Prague Jewish Community on
Mr Kraus´s diary describes the events and relations in the camp and condemns inhuman behaviour of some inmates, the Czech news agency reports. In July 1948, 17-year-old Michal Kraus left Czechoslovakia and moved to Canada with the help of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He took his diary with him and later gave it to the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Copies of the diary are kept by four museums in the Czech Republic and Israel. Mr Kraus, now 81, decided to publish his diary because of the persecution of ethnic and other minorities, still a problem in the Czech Republic and Europe in general, he said.
A 33-year-old motorist and 29-year-old passenger suffered serious head injuries on Friday night when their car was hit by a transport train near České Budějovice. The accident took place at around 9:30 pm at a railway crossing. A two-year-old in a baby seat in the back of the car was unhurt. Signal lights at the crossing were not in operation, an official from the Railways Inspectorate said. Damage to the train was reported at more than 200,000 crowns, while damage to the car was estimated at 50,000.
A 34-year-old motorist was killed in an accident between the villages of Keblice and Brňany in the Litoměřice area on Saturday. The accident took place at around 9:30 am. The driver lost control of her vehicle which went off the road and hit a tree. Both emergency personnel and fire fighters were called to the scene to try and free her from the car, but were unable to save the woman, a police spokeswoman said.
The winner of the 16th annual dog sled race called Šediváčkův Long, held in the north-eastern Czech Republic, is musher Vít Kolátor. Mr Kolátor won the four-stage race with his eight dogs in 11 hours and 35 minutes. Aleš Pícl came in second, five minutes behind. Almost 100 mushers from eight countries with some 500 dogs competed in the race – considered one of the toughest on the European continent. They had to overcome 240 kilometres in deep snow and freezing conditions in the Orlické mountains in just four days.
The Czech Republic will try to secure its participation in future euro zone summits. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Friday it would be good for the country to be involved and for its voice to be heard even if it was not yet a euro zone member. The centre-right Czech government on Wednesday approved a 1.5 billion euro loan to the IMF to help contain the debt crisis in the euro zone and gave conditional approval for the Czech Republic to join the emerging fiscal compact, a process that would either have to be ratified by Parliament or in a national referendum.
GSA head Carlos des Dorides and Czech Transport Minister Pavel Dobeš on
Friday signed an agreement on moving the headquarters of the Galileo
Supervisory Authority to Prague. The European Union’s planned Galileo
satellite navigation system is meant to give the EU its own worldwide
navigation system, similar to the US GPS and Russia’s GLONASS. Galileo is
due to begin basic operations in 2014, and ultimately to offer 32
satellites covering the globe.
The Czechs lobbied hard for the opportunity to host the headquarters of the new navigation system, and Czech firms are expected to benefit for instance by taking part in the development of signal receivers or applications for Galileo. The transfer of GSA staff to Prague is expected to begin in May.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has dismissed criticism from the EC that the
country’s approach to foreign applicants requesting a residence permit
violates the EU's directive regarding the free movement of people. Among
others, the EC has expressed objections to the policy of asking residence
permit applicants to prove that they have secured accommodation in the
The EC says this is not in harmony with the free movement directive that all EU states were supposed to transpose in their legislation by April 2006 and has threatened to file action against the Czech Republic over its alleged failure to observe the said directive. The Czech Republic has two months to react to the criticism. If Brussels finds Prague's response insufficient, it may hand the issue over to the European Court of Justice, which may impose sanctions on the country.
Hackers attacked the website of the Czech government as well as the online presence of OSA, a Czech copyrights holders association, on Thursday night. Both websites were up and running again by Friday morning. Behind the attack are hackers associated with the activist group Anonymous, which has been targeting websites of such organizations as the FBI, the White House and various record labels and copyrights holders in a reaction to a recent blocking of the online content sharing service Megaupload.com. The loosely organized group Anonymous has been linked to attacks around the world aimed at punishing governments for policies they disagree with. The attacks on Czech websites are believed to be connected to the Czech Republic signing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in Tokio on Thursday. The agreement aims to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcements.