UK actor and musician Hugh Laurie, who starred in the popular Dr House TV series, will perform with his Copper Bottom Band in the Czech capital on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s show in Prague’s Congress Centre is sold out, and organizers have added another performance. Hugh Laurie is touring to promote his new record Didn’t It Rain which draws on traditional American blues.
Slovan Liberec have reached the next qualifying round of the Europa League, European soccer's second-tier club competition. After a 1:2 home defeat to Skonto Riga last week, Liberec beat the Latvians 1:0 on Thursday night, going through on the away goals rule. Sparta Prague, meanwhile, are finished in Europe for this season; they had drawn 2:2 at home with Sweden's Häcken in their first leg tie but lost 1:0 in Sweden on Thursday night.
Czech swimmer Zdeněk Tlamicha will participate in an international relay swim across the Bering Strait. 40 swimmers from 14 countries will attempt to cross the 86-kilometre wide strait between Cape Dezhnev in Russia and Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, next weekend. They expect to cover the distance in between 40 and 50 hours. No such swim relay has ever crossed the Bering Strait before.
Czech meteorologists have warned against extreme heat that is expected to hit the country over the weekend. Saturday’s highs could reach 35 degrees Celsius while on Sunday, temperatures are expected to rise to 39 degrees. There will be an increased risk of fires; people should maintain a healthy drinking regime, and avoid longer stays in the open particularly around noon, meteorologists said.
The UN Human Rights’ Committee has asked the Czech government to close down a pig farm located on the site of a former Nazi concentration camp for Romanies. The pig farm at Lety, in south Bohemia was built on the site of the camp by the communist regime in the 1970s and has been a source of embarrassment to post 1989-governments. Although the issue has sparked heated controversy the matter has not been resolved on the argument that buying the farm from its present owners and removing or relocating it would be too costly. More than 1,300 Romanies were held prisoner in the camp between 1942 and 1943. Over 300 Romanies died there, others were transported to Nazi extermination camps.
President Miloš Zeman has met with Olomouc High State Attorney Ivo Ištvan to publicly voice support for his crusade against corruption. Mr. Ištvan is supervising the high profile case of alleged spying and corruption that brought down the centre-right government of former prime minister Petr Nečas. Thursday’s meeting between the president and high state attorney came in the wake of an angry statement from the former prime minister who accused state attorneys of “harassing politicians and trying to run the country”. President Zeman assured Mr. Ištan that he had his full support in conducting a thorough and independent investigation into the affair.
The meeting between the president and the Olomouc high state attorney elicited a sharp response from TOP 09 deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek who said he considered it proof that the high state attorney was not acting impartially and independently. Mr. Kalousek said the meeting clearly indicated a link between the police operation that brought down the centre-right government and the political changes that President Zeman was trying to implement.
The ministries of foreign affairs and trade have signed an agreement on cooperation in promoting the country’s business interests. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said after the signing ceremony in Prague on Thursday that the agreement would end years of rivalry in this field and mark a new era in promoting Czech interests abroad. He promised better service both for Czech exporters and for potential foreign investors in the Czech Republic. Trade Minister Jiri Cienciala, welcomed the deal saying the trade ministry had handpicked 44 business experts who would be sent to Czech embassies around the world.
The authorities in the west Bohemian town of Pilsen are taking steps to diffuse growing ethnic tension in the city, following a wave of complaints against the local Romany minority. The city council and the local police have agreed on a number of measures including an increased police presence in problem areas, more surveillance cameras in the streets and Romany mediators in places where conflicts have escalated. City hall officials say the problems are exacerbated by developments in Ceske Budejovice, south Bohemia, where a conflict on a playground between Romany and non-Romas parents triggered protests and street violence for several weekends in a row.
President Miloš Zeman is expected to sign several dozen decrees confirming appointments to ambassadorial posts. According to Hynek Kmoníček, head of the foreign department at Prague Castle, the president is expected to sign twenty to thirty decrees of nominees who have already been approved by the host country. The process of naming new ambassadors was stalled for several months after President Zeman and the former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg failed to agree on several names, deadlocking the process. It is now expected that President Zeman will push through his nominee Vladimir Remek as the country’s new ambassador to Moscow and ex-president Klaus’ wife Livia as the new ambassador to Slovakia.
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