News

Schwarzenberg: Lisbon ratification process should not come to halt

The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, says Ireland’s no to the Lisbon Treaty does not mean the ratification process should come to a halt. Speaking after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, he said, however, that the Czech Republic would have to wait for a ruling from the Constitutional Court; it is due to say in the autumn whether the document reforming the structure of the European Union is in line with the Czech constitution. Minister Schwarzenberg’s position contrasts with that of the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek; he told reporters he believed the ratification process in its current form was over.

The most vocal Czech opponent of continuing the ratification process is the Euro-sceptic president, Václav Klaus. He said Ireland’s no vote was a victory for freedom and reason, and thanked Irish voters for putting a brake on what he called top-down centralisation.

UK vote will impact European Council meeting, says Vondra

Meanwhile, the Czech deputy prime minister for European affairs, Alexandr Vondra, said discussion about ratification at a European Council summit on Thursday would be influenced by a vote in the British Parliament on Wednesday. The House of Lords is expected to vote to accept the Lisbon Treaty; that would make things slightly different than after the French and Dutch rejections of the original EU constitution, Mr Vondra said. He did not say what position the Czech Republic would adopt at the European Council meeting.

The Treaty of Lisbon is due to come into effect on January 1 next year, the day the Czech Republic takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union. Implementation of the reform document requires its ratification by all 27 EU members.

Shocking abuse case begins in Brno court

A court in Brno has begun hearing a case of child abuse which has shocked the Czech Republic. Sickening details have been given of how six adults, including the mysterious Barbora Škrlová, seriously mistreated two boys in the town of Kuřim. The abuse came to light last year after a neighbour picked up a signal from a child minding video device in the flat of Klára Mauerová; it showed that one of her sons, aged seven, was being kept naked in appalling conditions in a cupboard.

In the wake of that discovery, it emerged that Ms Mauerová had tried to adopt 33-year-old Barbora Škrlová in the guise of a 12-year-old girl. The alleged abusers have been linked to a sect headed by Barbora Škrlová’s father; her brother is among the accused.

On Tuesday Klára Mauerová tearfully admitted to mistreating her children, saying she had been manipulated by her sister Kateřina and Barbora Škrlová into taking what she called a harsh approach to child-rearing.

Romany Holocaust centre set for site of former concentration camp

A Romany Holocaust documentation and educational centre is set be built on the site of a World War II concentration camp for Romanies at Hodonín in south Moravia, the minister for ethnic minorities and human rights, Džamila Stehlíková, said on Tuesday. Minister Stehlíková said the present owners of the site had agreed to sell it to the state. The centre is due to be built next year. It will be administered by the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno.

Around 90 percent of Bohemia and Moravia’s Romanies were killed during the war. Some of them died at the camp in Hodonín, while others perished at the Lety camp in Bohemia; hundreds of people from both were later murdered at Auschwitz.

Fresh criminal complaint filed against controversial government politician Jiří Čunek

A fresh criminal complaint has been filed against Jiří Čunek, who is deputy prime minister and minister for regional development. Jiří Jehlička of the Czech Debtors Central Register says in the complaint that a previous investigation into allegations Mr Čunek took bribes failed to address important issues in the case. The police’s anti-corruption unit are now examining whether there was indeed a failure to follow correct procedure. Mr Čunek quit his two cabinet posts but was reinstated when the bribe-taking investigation was dropped by a state attorney. The Christian Democrats leader has been involved in a number of scandals, including over apparent racist comments he made about the Czech Republic’s Romany minority.

Prince Caspian stars in Prague for premiere

Stars of the film The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian are due to attend its Czech premiere on Tuesday night. Alongside the young actors, director Andrew Adamson will attend the screening at Prague’s Slovanský Dům. Parts of the movie were shot in the Czech Republic – in north Bohemia, at Barrandov Studios and at the Brdy military zone.

Divisive business manager of Czech football team steps down

The business manager of the Czech national football team, Vlastimil Košťál, has resigned. He had been in the position for the same six-and-a-half-year period that Karel Bruckner served as team coach. Mr Košťál is also the deputy head of the Czech football association and is regarded as one of the most powerful and controversial people in Czech soccer. Commentators have welcomed his resignation; his presence in the national team structure was reportedly a deterrent to potential successors to Mr Bruckner as Czech coach.

Blažek back at Sparta after one season in Bundesliga

The Czech goalkeeper Jaromír Blažek is returning to Sparta Prague after one season at the German club Nuremberg. The Bundesliga side, who last season also featured Czech players Jan Koller and Tomáš Galásek, were relegated to the German second division in May. Blažek, who was second choice Czech goalie after Petr Čech, quit international football after the Czech Republic’s exit from Euro 2008.

Vaidišová out in first round at Eastbourne

The Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidišová was defeated in the first round of a Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Eastbourne on Tuesday. The 19-year-old has been having a disappointing season, with a run to the quarter-finals of a tournament in Birmingham last week the only matches she has won since the beginning of March.

Weather

It will be mostly sunny over the next few days, with temperatures set to reach up to 27 degrees Celsius.