News

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Opposition slams government for two-track foreign policy

The opposition Social Democrats have slammed the government for conducting a two-track foreign policy. The verbal attack came shortly after the cabinet rejected minister Schwarzenberg’s foreign policy concept for allegedly being too pro-European. The criticism came from the ranks of the Civic Democratic Party and was supported by President Vaclav Klaus. Shadow foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek said it was high time to address this lack of unity in Parliament. Mr. Zaoralek said he had information from reliable sources that Czech embassies abroad often received two sets of different instructions –one lot from the foreign ministry and another from the office of the government.

Foreign minister says he is fully in control of the reins

In an interview for the internet daily novinky.cz on Saturday Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg of TOP 09 admitted that he and the Civic Democrats sometimes differed on foreign policy issues, but he said he was fully in control of the reins. Asked whether President Klaus’s eurosceptic views did not create difficulties in how the country’s foreign policy was perceived abroad, Mr. Schwarzenberg said the president was fully entitled to his views within a democratic debate. The Czech foreign minister has made it clear he would not budge on his foreign policy stand, telling Novinky.cz that the Czech Republic should stop playing enfant terrible in the EU and instead actively partake in a constructive debate.

Policeman found to have been assembling sensitive data

A police investigator from the town of Varnsdorf was found to have been assembling sensitive data relating to private phone conversations made by well-known figures such as the head of the Constitutional Court, judge Pavel Rychetsky, or CEZ manager Daniel Rous. The officer claims he requested the information in connection with a people-trafficking case he was working on. However the daily Mlada fronta Dnes which broke the story says the case was merely an excuse for the officer to get to the respective data. It is not clear if he was collecting the data for a third party. The case is being investigated.

President gets Festschrift at birthday celebration

President Klaus hosted a small party at Prague Castle on Friday evening to celebrate his 70th birthday with a select group of good friends and close associates, after official celebrations planned for Thursday had to be cancelled due to a nationwide transport strike. At the event, President Klaus was presented with a book of essays -Festschrift -put together for him by over 50 well-known personalities - present and former politicians, economists, philosopher and cultural figures. Among them are former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, American economist Gary Becker, Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka, prime minister Petr Necas, former German president RomanHerzog and Nigel Lawson – British Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Newly-wed couple hit by tragedy

A wedding celebration ended in tragedy for a newly-wed Czech couple in Prague on Friday. During the celebration the newly-weds walked out onto a 3rd floor balcony from which they both fell. The bride was killed on impact the groom is in critical condition. The cause of the tragedy is being investigated. A police spokesman told journalists the couple were not drunk when the incident occurred.

Passengers of intercity bus miraculously escape from horrific accident

Passengers of an intercity bus that got stuck on the rail tracks at a crossing near the town of Plzen had a miraculous escape –managing to get off the bus just moments before it was swept off the tracks by an oncoming train. The accident left only two people lightly injured – the bus driver who failed to get off in time and a train passenger who was standing in the alley when the impact occurred. The driver says he was crossing the tracks when his engine failed and the gates went down on either side. He quickly ordered the passengers to disembark and the last one left the bus just seconds before the oncoming train hit it, ploughing the vehicle for approximately 50 metres before grinding to a halt.

Tennis – Kvitova to face Bartoli

Fifth seed Petra Kvitova will face sixth-seeded Marion Bartoli in the final of the Wimbledon warm-up grasscourt championships in Eastbourne after both had relatively easy semi-final wins on Saturday. Both matches were delayed after rain washed out play on Friday.

Left-handed Czech Kvitova, seeded eight at Wimbledon, led the in-form Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 7-6 (9-7) before the match was halted in the second set, which she was leading 4-2, when Hantuchova retired with an abdominal strain. Kvitova is seeking her fourth WTA title of the year.

Weather

Skies are expected to remain grey and overcast though most of the weekend with day temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius.