Viktor Kozeny, the so-called Pirate of Prague, is currently sitting in a police cell in his adopted home of the Bahamas, after being arrested by the FBI. On Thursday US federal prosecutors charged him and two other men with participating in a scheme to bribe senior government officials in Azerbaijan over lucrative oil privatisation deals. He now faces extradition to the U.S. But as Rob Cameron reports, Czech investors who say they were defrauded by Mr Kozeny have little hope of seeing their money again.
Some 200 locals and tourists gathered on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Wednesday evening for a jazz concert in aid of New Orleans. The charity concert was organized at the initiative of Czech musicians and was held under the auspices of Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka. Among the performers were Milan Svoboda, the Prague Big Band Orchestra and Jiri Stivin. People could contribute cash on the spot or make a donation via an SMS text message.
Founded nearly twenty years ago in a Sokol community hall in America's heartland, the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International now boasts close to four thousand members, from all fifty states in the Union and around the globe. For the first time in its history, this society of amateur and professional genealogists held its biannual congress in "the homeland."
President Vaclav Klaus, on a visit to the US, has met with US
Vice-President Dick Cheney at the White House. After talks on Thursday Mr
Klaus told reporters the United States had attentively followed the
situation in Europe concerning recent German elections. Mr Klaus also said
he and the US vice-president discussed Czech aid to the victims of
Hurricane Katrina, as well as such issues as the Middle East, Afghanistan
Earlier, on Wednesday, Mr Klaus met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has opened a unique exhibition of Czech Gothic art from the 14th and 15th centuries at New York's prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art. The president, who is on a six-day working visit to the United States, also visited the city's Czech National Building, which is undergoing major reconstruction. He also held talks with New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
The Czech government has approved sending 25 million crowns in
humanitarian aid to parts of the U.S. stricken by Hurricane Katrina. Along
with the funds - the equivalent of more than one million U.S. dollars -
Czech Republic has offered the U.S. the use of a field hospital, an
anti-chemical crew, and water treatment facilities. The Chief of Staff
Pavel Stefka has said that the mobile hospital could be of most use now.
On Monday the Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek met with the American ambassador to Prague to promise help: a decision on the final form of additional aid will be made this week.
With the southern Gulf Coast states of the US still reeling from the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina and the subsequent floods, the Czech Republic has offered to help. On Monday morning the Czech president and prime minister both had meetings with the US Ambassador in Prague, William Cabaniss. But what kind of help can a small country like the Czech Republic actually give?
The Daneceks were for years a fairly normal Czech-American family, living their lives, sending their kids to school and paying off their mortgage. But three weeks ago the family's lives were turned upside-down, when - after 15 years - they were deported from the United States. This expulsion is the latest in a series of misfortunes to have struck the Daneceks, who are now living in cramped temporary accommodation near Prague.
The Czech Foreign Ministry and US embassy officials are discussing concrete steps which would lead to either easing or abolishing visa requirements for Czech citizens in the future. Czech officials see the term 2007 as a possible date for the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the US visa-free programme, but the US embassy in Prague has refused to confirm the possibility. Of the new EU members only Slovenian nationals do not require visas to travel to the United States.
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