News

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New body to examine communist past opens in Prague

A new institute dedicated to the examination of the Czech Republic’s communist past has opened in Prague. The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes brings together secret police and military intelligence files which were previously in the hands of various state institutions. The files, which amount to millions of pages, will be accessible to both historians and members of the public. The Czech Republic is one of the last post-communist states to create such a body.

South Bohemia refuses EP call for removal of pig farm from Romany concentration camp site

The South Bohemia regional authority has rejected a European Parliament call for the removal of a pig farm on the site of a former World War II concentration camp for Romanies. Governor Jan Zahradník said removing the facility in Lety would be an inappropriate solution; he added that Brussels had no right to interfere, as it was a purely Czech matter. Mr Zahradník said the region plans to build a memorial near the pig farm to Romany victims of the Holocaust. More than 1,300 people were interned at Lety; over 300 died there, while 500 more later met their deaths at Auschwitz.

Krejčíř extradition request turned down by South African court

A court in South Africa has turned down a request from the Czech Republic to extradite the fugitive businessman Radovan Krejčíř. Mr Krejčíř is wanted on charges of conspiracy to murder and fraud. However, one reason the South African court gave for not handing him over was that several of the things of which he is accused are not illegal in that country. A Czech diplomat in Johannesburg said it was very likely the Czech Republic would appeal Friday’s verdict.

Radovan Krejčíř fled the country after escaping during a police search of his home. After a period in the Seychelles he entered South Africa on a false passport last April; he later applied for political asylum.

Press: Czech experts make cloning breakthrough

A group of experts from Prague’s Institute of Animal Science have made a significant breakthrough in the science of cloning, the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes reported. In a paper published in the magazine Science, the scientists provide a possible explanation for why the cloning of animals and humans often proves unsuccessful. The Czech team studied the role of the nucleus in the mother’s egg – they found that when it is missing the clone does not develop.

Vietnamese stall holders charged over attack on customs officers

Police have filed charges against five Vietnamese stall holders after they allegedly attacked customs officers at a market in Vojtanov, west Bohemia on Thursday. One of the officers has been treated in hospital for stab wounds, though his life is not in danger. The incident occurred during a routine inspection of alcoholic drinks on sale at the market.

Organiser of banned far right march wins right to hold demonstration

The organiser of a neo-Nazi march banned in Plžen has won a court case against the mayor of the west Bohemian city. The Plžen Regional Court ruled on Friday that reasons given by Mayor Pavel Rodl for stopping the demonstration did not meet the set criteria for such a ban. Far-right activist Václav Bureš is now free to organise another march within 30 days of receiving notice of the court decision. The one he called in January was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the first transport of Jews from in Plžen 1942.

Twenty-crown note axed

The Czech 20-crown note will cease to be legal tender from September next year, under a decision by the Czech National Bank. At the end of 2007 there were over 5 million 20-crown notes in circulation. The note was first issued in April 1994 but was replaced by a 20-crown coin two years later, due to the fact an average note only lasted for 12 to 18 months.

Cetkovská to play in first rubber of Fed Cup clash with Slovakia

Petra Cetkovská will represent the Czech Republic in the opening rubber of a Fed Cup tennis clash with Slovakia in Brno on Saturday, following the news that Lucie Šafářová has been forced to pull out due to injury. Šafářová’s place in the team for the World Group II tie has been taken by Iveta Benešová.

Rozehnal leaves Newcastle after only half season

The Czech footballer David Rozehnal has left Newcastle United for the Italian club Lazio in a six-month loan deal. The defender, who is 27, only joined Newcastle in the summer. He is expected to make a permanent switch to Lazio at the end of this season. Rozehnal has made 39 appearances for the Czech national team. Meanwhile, Czech Under 21 international Michal Švec has left Slavia Prague for the Dutch side Heerenveen. Though only 20, Švec appeared almost 70 times for the Czech league leaders.

Weather

It should be cloudy with some sunny spells over the next few days. Temperatures will reach up to 10 degrees Celsius.