News

PM Topolánek admits formation of minority government

Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has admitted that he could possibly form a minority government if the coalition does not overcome its current difficulties. Mr Topolánek told Czech TV on Sunday that a coalition government which was not able to follow its programme did not have a right to remain in power.

Several MPs in each of the coalition parties have repeatedly voted against drafts prepared by the government. While rebels within the right-wing Civic Democrats object to way the restitution of church property was calculated, some Christian Democrats and Greens oppose the government’s health care reform as well as the planned Czech-American treaty on siting a U.S. tracking radar base on Czech territory.

Supreme state attorney Vesecká will not step down

Supreme state attorney Renáta Vesecká has refused to step down after a court upheld her predecessor calling her a part of a “judicial mafia”. A court in Prague ruled last week that the former supreme state attorney, Marie Benešová, did not have to apologize for calling Ms Vesecká, together with five other high-profile judges and prosecutors, members of a “judicial mafia” because they interfered with the investigation of the Čunek case. Several opposition as well as coalition MPs then called for Ms Vesecká to step down from office. Ms Vesecká told Czech TV on Sunday that the court ruling was politically motivated with the aim of reviving the Čunek case.

Czech Rep. beats Switzerland 1:0 in Euro 2008 opener

The Czech national football team beat the host Switzerland 1:0 in the opening match of Euro 2008 in Basel on Saturday. The Swiss were better throughout most of the game but were unable to convert any of several opportunities, mainly due to Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech who showed some spectacular saves. The decisive moment came in the 70th minute of the game when Václav Svěrkoš, who had replaced another striker Jan Koler shortly before, scored the winning goal of the match. In their next appearance at Euro 2008, the Czech Republic will face Portugal on Wednesday.

Prague mayor wants to change controversial grant system

Prague Mayor Pavel Bém said he would like to change the controversial theatre subsidy system in the Czech capital. Earlier this year, Prague City Hall came up with a new system of financing Prague’s theatres and other art scenes which tied subsidies to ticket sales. The system has been criticized for not distinguishing between genuine art and commercial projects catering to tourists. Last month, many of Prague's theatres staged a week of protests against the programme and were also backed by playwright and former Czech President Václav Havel.

Hundreds protest uranium mining

Some 300 activists protested against uranium mining near Liberec, northern Bohemia, on Saturday, despite a recent denial by the Environment Ministry to conduct preliminary tests in the area. Local inhabitants, mayors of nearby communities as well as environmental activists oppose any possible plans to launch uranium mining in northern Bohemia, a region with an estimated 20,000 tons of uranium ore.

Czech TV launches antidiscrimination campaign

Czech TV has started airing antidiscrimination advertisements in the form of fictional job interviews during which the applicants are humiliated by the interviewers. The campaign was designed by a Czech gender studies NGO and financed by the European Social Fund. The Czech Republic has been criticized by the European Union for not having passed the antidiscrimination act; the act was approved by the Czech Parliament but President Václav Klaus vetoed the draft last month.

“The Substitute” wins Children’s Film Festival in Zlín

The Danish film “The Substitute” by Ole Bornedal won the Golden Slipper Award for the best feature film for children at the 48th International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Zlín. The story of schoolchildren’s struggle against a substitute teacher from another planet also received the Ecumenical Jury Award and the Don Quixote Award, presented by the federation of film clubs.

Černá Hora is the beer of the year

The Moravian brewery Černá Hora won the title Beer of the Year for two of their light lagers at a beer competition in České Budějovice on Saturday. Černá Hora, one of 44 Czech and foreign breweries taking part in the competition, is the largest of the Czech Republic’s small breweries with about one percent of the market share. Last year, the brewery produced 160,000 hectolitres of beer.

Missing boy found dead, foreigner charged with murder

A nine-year-old boy from Havlíčkův Brod, eastern Bohemia, who had been missing since the beginning of May, was found dead on Saturday on the outskirts of the town. The police arrested a 43-year-old Slovak national in connection with the case and charged him with rape and murder.

Weather

The start of the week will be cloudy and overcast, with rain showers and storms in places. Highest day temperatures should reach 27 degrees centigrade.