The leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats says he does not intend to provide proof to back up his assertion that the Social Democrats had him followed on a recent trip to Italy. Mirek Topolánek accused his main rivals of dirty tricks after paparazzi-style photos of him meeting influential lobbyists and business people appeared in the Czech media. He told reporters on Sunday it was sufficient to be aware of a link between the centre-left Social Democrats and Karel Randák, a former intelligence chief who admits to having provided the press with the pictures. The Social Democrats, whose own Milan Urban also appeared in the photos, have denied being behind them.
Meanwhile, the head of the Communist Party, Vojtěch Filip, has said the fact members of the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats were photographed meeting lobbyists in Italy shows that the parties are planning to divide influence over lucrative state companies by forming a coalition after general elections in October. Political analysts think that scenario is unlikely, the Czech News Agency reported. From 1998 to 2002 the Social Democrats and Civic Democrats worked together under a so-called “opposition agreement”.
Police say they are not planning to heed a call from local officials in Husinec on the outskirts of Prague to evict a group of Romanian Romanies who have set up a makeshift camp there. The Romanies, who are keeping a vigil for a relative who is seriously ill in a Prague hospital, were previously camped elsewhere in the city and are now on private land with the permission of its owner. However, they have no running water or other basic facilities and the mayor of Husinec, Marie Těthalová, called on the police to expel the group by lunchtime on Sunday. She said there was no way the municipality would pay for mobile toilets or drinking water. The Romanian Romanies arrived in Prague over a week ago after a teenage relative they regard as a prince almost drowned in a lake in central Bohemia.
A Czech Airlines plane flying from Cyprus to Prague on Saturday turned back after smoke was smelled on board. A spokesperson for CSA told the news website idnes.cz that passengers had not been in danger. She said the smoke had been caused by a short circuit in one of the aircraft’s computers; once the problem was rectified, passengers reboarded the plane at Larnaca airport on Sunday morning and it returned to the Czech Republic.
Hotel operators say they are having their worst season in a decade because of the financial crisis. Most Czech hotels have seen takings per room fall by 20 to 35 percent, according to a report produced by the Association of Hotels and Restaurants for the Czech News Agency. Occupation rates have fallen by 18 percent while prices have been reduced by 11 percent. The fall in numbers is particularly marked in the case of German, British, Irish, Dutch, Japanese, American, Spanish and Brazilian visitors, say the authors of the study.
The Moravia Silesia Open, the Czech Republic’s biggest golf tournament, has been won by Sweden’s Oskar Henningsson. Henningsson came from sixth to secure victory in the final round in Čeladná, south Moravia. He finished two shots ahead of the British players Sam Little and Steve Webster.
The American film director and former member of the Monty Python comedy group Terry Gilliam has been presented with the Miroslav Ondříček Award at the first annual River Film Festival in the south Bohemian town of Písek. Miroslav Ondříček, a Czech cinematographer closely associated with Oscar-winning director Miloš Forman, personally presented the award for lifetime’s contribution to world cinema to Terry Gilliam, who is a frequent visitor to the Czech Republic. Mr Gilliam, who has made such films as Brazil and Twelve Monkeys, also appears in a trailer for River Film Festival, which runs until next Sunday.
The Prague Proms international music festival ends at the city’s Municipal House on Sunday with a “space night”. The closing concert features the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Libor Pešek performing Holst’s The Planets accompanied by a video projection. The fifth annual Prague Proms got underway on July 17 and has, according to organisers, been almost completely sold out.
Temperatures should fall a bit over the next few days, with a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius expected. We can expect some sunshine and occasional rain or even storms.