Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday accused Iran
of playing a “chess game” with world powers in order to guard its
nuclear gains. Speaking shortly after a meeting with President Vaclav
Klaus, Mr. Netanyahu said that although he favours a peaceful solution to
the issue he can see no indication that Iran is ready to wind up its
nuclear programme and suggested that Teheran was playing a chess game with
the international community in order to buy time.
Security issues and the situation in the Middle East have been high on the agenda of two-days of Czech-Israeli talks, with the Czech prime minister defending Israel’s right to protect itself against terrorism and rejecting attempts to challenge the legitimacy of the Jewish state. The Israeli head of government said the two nations have a close affinity since Czechs know what it is like to be a believer in democracy in a hostile region.
The leadership of the Social Democratic party has called on former party member David Rath to give up his seat in the lower house. Mr. Rath, who is in custody, facing charges of corruption, has already resigned as governor of Central Bohemia but has given no indication that he plans to vacate his seat in the lower house. This has caused considerable consternation among MPs since it would mean that Mr. Rath would have to be escorted to parliament sessions from jail, flanked by a police escort. Under Czech law an MP cannot be forced into vacating his post and there is no precedent as to how to deal with such a situation.
In related news, the court in Usti nad Labem which ordered Rath’s custody claims that he is entitled to present his case to Parliament’s Mandatory and Immunity Committee and to attend the parliament session which will take a vote on whether or not to strip him of his immunity. A spokesman for the court said on Friday that it would be up to MPs to decide how best to arrange this. One of the suggestions has been a videoconference style link-up.
Civic Democrat Senator Premysl Sobotka has an edge over his party rival Evzen Tosenovsky in the presidential primaries. The senator has just beaten his rival hands down in the South Bohemia and Vysocina regions where he received 221 votes to Tosenovsky’s 96 and 188 against 119 respectively. The party’s hot candidate for the post chair of the lower house Miroslava Nemcova pulled out of the race unexpectedly just ahead of the primaries.
The Defense Ministry has proposed lieutenant general Petr Pavel for the post army chief of staff. If the proposal receives government approval lieutenant general Pavel will replace outgoing Vlastimil Picek who is due to vacate the post at the end of October. The lieutenant general received military training in Great Britain and has served on international missions abroad.
The newly emerging party of Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has pressed criminal charges against an unknown culprit for stealing the party’s proposed name LIDEM and trying to get it registered at the Interior Ministry. There was an attempt to register a new party under that name by an unknown person soon after it was officially made public. The attempt will not however hinder the deputy prime minister from establishing her party as LIDEM (short for Liberal Democrats) since the initial registration was rejected for technical errors.
A female lawyer specializing in child custody cases has criticized the fact that Czech courts release children to parents abroad too easily without demanding any guarantees regarding their future welfare. Speaking at an international conference of female lawyers, Iva Jermanova from the Czech Association of Female Lawyers, said that even though the law entitles judges to postpone a child's departure until they receive sufficient background and information regarding the child’s welfare abroad they rarely bother to do so. Jermanova said it was vital to address the issue since the number of international disputes over child custody was growing in correlation to the rising number of mixed marriages.
The night-time sub-zero temperatures over the past week are reported to have damaged wine-growers in southern Moravia. Some report the destruction of a third of their harvest, others up to 50 percent. The damage is being estimated at around 400 million crowns and will impact the prices of this year’s wine from the region. Local apple and apricot orchards have also taken a hit.
The Czech national hockey team has reached the semifinals at the world championship in ice hockey after defeating Sweden 4:3 on Thursday night. The Swedes opened the scoring in the first period but the Czechs – putting in their strongest performance of the tournament – turned the score around and led for part of the second period by a score of 3:1. A fourth goal was disallowed before the Swedes came back, tying the game at 3:3 in the first minute of the third. Overall, the match was close but the Czechs showed good speed and created chances although the Swedes also had opportunities. The winning goal was netted just 29 seconds before the end of regulation time, when Milan Michálek – escaping from the corner in the Swedes’ end – put a rising shot over goalie Fasth’s shoulder. The Czech Republic will face Slovakia in the semifinals after the latter eliminated Canada.