Interior Minister Jan Kubice has suggested that cooperation between different agencies in resolving the recent methanol crisis could serve as a model in the fight against illegal drugs in border areas. Illicit drugs smuggled into neighbouring Germany are largely produced in western border areas and 40 percent of drugs seized in the Czech Republic are uncovered in border areas with Germany. According to the National Anti-Drug Agency, that amounted to around one-eighth or even one-sixth of the drugs produced. Earlier this week the interior minister visited Warsaw to meet with his Polish counterpart to discuss anti-drug measures.
President Václav Klaus, in an interview for the Czech daily Lidové noviny, has said the government, through its actions, had only itself to blame for the loss of a comfortable majority in the Chamber of Deputies (formerly 118 mandates). The president suggested that the prime minister and other members of the centre-right cabinet needed to reflect on their manner of governing but denied he was laying obstacles in the government’s path. In the interview, Mr Klaus reiterated, for example, that pension reforms he recently vetoed were highly controversial and should be reconsidered. The president’s comments come a day after a new poll suggested that support for Petr Nečas’ centre-right government had fallen to an all-time low of just 17 percent.
Two female elephants obtained by Prague Zoo from the government of Sri Lanka, are Prague-bound, loaded onto a military Hercules plane for a roughly 17-hour flight. The animals, reportedly calm, are being attended to by zoo specialists. The elephants were loaded into special transport facilities at 9 pm local time in Pinnawala, and were driven to Colombo, where they were loaded onto the plane. Their arrival in the Sri Lankan capital was awaited by local politicians and journalists, ČTK says.
Late president Václav Havel would have been “caught off guard” if he could have known that Prague’s international airport would be renamed in his honour, former close aide Ladislav Špaček has said. Mr Špaček told the Czech news agency on Friday, following the official renaming, that the former president, who died last December, had no longer thought he was important for Czech society, and would have been surprised by the expression of loss and respect his passing aroused. The renaming of the airport in Ruzyně to Václav Havel Airport Prague (Letiště Václava Havla Praha in Czech) took place at noon on Friday - the 76th anniversary of the Mr Havel’s birthday; numerous politicians, celebrities and members of the public attended. The current president, Václav Klaus, and the prime minister were notably absent.
The Czech Republic’s main international airport has been officially renamed after the late president Václav Havel. A special ceremony for the unveiling of Václav Havel Airport Prague (Letiště Václava Havla Praha in Czech) took place at noon on Friday - the 76th anniversary of the former-president’s birthday - in the presence of numerous politicians, celebrities and members of the public. An exhibition of news agency photographs of Mr Havel was also opened, with a parallel exhibit to be made in London. The idea to rename the airport after the last Czechoslovak and first Czech president’s was launched in the days following his death last December, and was petitioned by tens of thousands of people. Outside the Czech Republic, a library in Paris, a building of the European Parliament and several streets in Poland have been renamed in honour of the statesman and champion of human rights and liberty.
The family of one of the victims of the so-called Heparin Killer will not receive compensation from the Havličkův Brod hospital where the murders took place. The Supreme Court rejected their case on the grounds that the hospital did not bear responsibility for the actions of the killer, who was one of its nurses, and that heparin was not the immediate cause of the woman’s death. The plaintiffs were seeking 3.5 million crowns. The killer, Petr Zelenka, was convicted of killing seven patients and attempting to kill 10 others in 2006, when he injected them with the blood-thinning drug. He is serving a life sentence in prison.
Justice Minister Pavel Blažek sharply criticised this week’s police raid on the Ministry of Labour in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the daily Právo reports. According to the paper, Mr Blažek claimed that Monday’s raid was a theatrical attempt to influence upcoming regional and Senate elections and the police should explain why it was not undertaken earlier or later, after elections. Deputy labour minister Vladimir Šiška and departmental head Milan Hojer were both detained in the raid and accused of bribery and manipulating public tenders, leading Labour Minister Jaromír Drábek of the TOP 09 party to resign two days later. The Justice Minister’s office has so far declined to comment on the matter.
The Havel family’s VIZE 97 foundation has given its annual prize to the late Czech sociologist and university lecturer Miloslav Petrusek. The award is presented each year on October 5, the day of the late president’s birthday. Professor Petrusek, a former dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University in Prague, did not live to receive the Havel foundation´s award himself, as he died on August 19, aged 75. His grandson Jan Holub will accept the award from Dagmar Havlová. A former advisor to the president, Petrusek was the author or co-author of a number of sociological studies, textbooks and articles and held the post of vice-rector of Charles University.
The French industrial conglomerate Areva has been eliminated from the tender for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant. In an announcement that surprised experts on Friday, the plant’s operator, the energy company ČEZ, said that the French had not met the business and legal requirements of the public tender. The exact reasons for their exclusion can only be published after the company has completed all options of appeal, a ČEZ spokesman said. Two other participants remain in the tender: the US-Japanese Westinghouse and the Czech-Russian consortium of Skoda JS, Atomstroyexport and Gidropress. The costs of completing Temelín are expected to reach 200-300 billion crowns. The winner of the tender is to be announced next year.
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