Czech citizens could be free to travel to the United States without a visa by the end of this year, Richard Barth of the US Department of Homeland Security said in Prague on Wednesday. Mr Barth said American and Czech officials were moving closer to an agreement on visa-free relations; he said the only thing now needed to allow the lifting of the visa requirement was the introduction of an electronic system of approval which would monitor visitors arriving in the USA. Czechs wishing to visit the US would be able to apply for approval via the internet before travelling. Mr Barth made the comments following meetings with Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
Friends of Mike Murray, an American citizen who was stabbed to death in Prague last week, have been petitioning against the release of the suspect – a 27-year-old police officer - from custody. After the suspect was charged with murder on Thursday, a court in Prague released him, pending investigation, claiming it had found no reason why the suspect should await trial behind bars.
Czechs traveling to the United States could be able to do so without a visa by the end of the year. On Tuesday, the magazine European Voice suggested that the Czech Republic could be included in the US visa-waiver programme alongside five other EU countries by the end of 2008. The magazine speculated that Malta, Cyprus, Hungary, Estonia and Greece would also be included in the visa-waiver programme, while the Czech Republic’s neighbours Slovakia and Poland would both have to wait longer. The speculation coincides with the visit of Richard Barth, the head of US Homeland Security, who is in Prague this week to discuss a Czech-US memorandum on border security.
William Harter came to the Czech capital in 1990 to work as Procter & Gamble’s man in Prague. He was one of the founders and first president of the American Chamber of Commerce in what was then Czechoslovakia. In more recent years, Mr Harter has retired and dedicated a great deal of his time to the Prague chapter of AARO – the Association of American Residents Overseas. He’s been the president of the Prague chapter of the organization now for the past six years. I met William Harter for a cup of coffee in downtown Prague, to ask him more about AARO’s
A member of the Prague municipal police who stabbed a US citizen to death in Prague on Wednesday has been charged with murder. The 27-year-old officer, who was drunk and off-duty when the incident happened, reportedly attacked the 44-year-old American after a fight broke out over they way the victim had parked his car.
A 27-year old Czech police officer is being held over a stabbing in the early hours of Wednesday, which resulted in the death a US citizen. The incident happened sometime after 1 am, after the officer, who was off-duty and apparently drunk, made obscene gestures at a passing car. The American driver stopped and got out of his vehicle, resulting in a quarrel which led to the fatal attack.
Czechs might be able to travel to the United States without a visa as of next year, Minister Alexandr Vondra said on Monday following US-Czech talks on the issue. Mr Vondra told the daily Hospodářské noviny that he expected US president George W. Bush to personally intervene in this matter during Prime Minister Topolánek’s visit to the United States in February.
When the Czech Republic enters the Schengen zone on December 21, it will bring in an era of passport-free travel for Czechs abroad. But not everyone is looking forward to the change. Entry to the Schengen zone could spell trouble for the sizeable number of Americans who have, up until now, been living and working in Prague without a visa.
The Bush administration’s plans to build a radar base in the Czech Republic as part of the U.S. missile defence shield have stirred passions both at home and abroad. One of those who feel strongly about the idea is the Californian artist Kevin Kihn, who contacted Radio Prague with a rather unusual proposal. Instead of a radar facility, he suggested, why not build a Peace Dome in its place? We spoke to Kevin at his home in the town of Alameda, in the San Francisco Bay.
The US Ambassador to Prague Richard Graber has revealed numbers showing the Czech Republic has come significantly closer to meeting requirements for visa-free status with the United States. According to the numbers, the number of visas rejected for Czechs was 6.7 percent of applications put forward, a drop from around 9.5 percent. Under legislation adopted in the US this year countries could theoretically be granted visa-free status providing they meet key criteria, first and foremost posting less than 10 percent of applications rejected. Earlier this week, Canada struck down visa requirements for Czechs for short-term visits, a move welcomed by Czech officials. The US Ambassador to Prague Richard Graber said on Friday that steps towards visa-free status with the US could be achieved by the Czech Republic within one or two years.
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