The government has suffered a setback in its attempt to introduce the European arrest warrant into Czech law. On Friday the opposition parties in the Chamber of Deputies voted down an amendment to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in its second reading. The change would allow the extradition of Czech citizens to other European Union states. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla's government now hope to force the legislation through in an amendment to the Czech penal code and other laws. Commentators say failure to introduce the arrest warrant would lead to considerable embarrassment for the Czech Republic.
Employees in the state sector are to go on strike for one hour on the morning of Wednesday, April 21, the chairman of the Czech Medical Workers Union told reporters on Friday. The strike is in protest at government plans to give workers only ten percent of their "thirteenth month's" salary, a type of end-of-year bonus.
The Czech Republic is launching its first large international television advertising campaign aimed at attracting more tourists to the country. Regional Development Minister Pavel Nemec said on Friday that the advertisements would be seen by around 150 million viewers around Europe. The ads emphasise that the country is 'pleasant and calm', characteristics which research showed tourists associated with the Czech Republic.
Controversial businessman Viktor Kozeny has registered his new political party at the Interior Ministry, party deputy chairman Pavel Matejka said on Friday. Mr Kozeny - who is now an Irish citizen and lives in the Bahamas - is wanted for large-scale fraud in the Czech Republic and the United States. His party is called "Viktor Kozeny - Civic Federal Democrats" and plans to field candidates in the first ever Czech elections to the European Parliament in June. Questions have been asked about how the man dubbed the "Pirate of Prague" plans to stand, given that he would be arrested if he entered the Czech Republic.
Police have charged three North Korean women with robbery, after an incident in which a crew from Czech Television were attacked on Thursday while filming outside a shoe factory in east Bohemia. TV reporter Vlastimil Weiner said around 30 women had attacked him and his cameraman, stealing the latter's camera. Around 50 North Korean women work at the factory; there have been media reports that they are forced to hand over almost all their earnings to their country's embassy in Prague.
Police in Slovakia have arrested two Czech men accused of catching protected beetles. The two, who were arrested near Kosice on Thursday, are also accused of killing protected caterpillars. If the two Czechs, both in their 60s, are found guilty of endangering protected wildlife they could face up to three years in prison, Slovak police said on Friday.
On Thursday evening over half a million viewers watched the first ever "Vecernicek" children's programme to feature Romany characters. Public broadcaster Czech Television said almost 400,000 of the animated programme's viewers had been adults. It was part one of a six-part series partly funded by the European Union.
Saturday should see bright spells around the Czech Republic, with a maximum temperature of 17 degrees Celsius.
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