News

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European Court of Human Rights rules in favour of Romany families

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that the Czech Republic discriminated against 18 Romany children by forcing them to attend special schools. The state will have to pay each of them 108, 000 crowns (4,000 euros) in compensation. The verdict overturns an earlier ruling according to which the Roma families had no cause for complaint since these special schools were also attended by non-Roma children with learning difficulties. The Roma families who waged a 9-year long court battle over their children’s rights said they had almost given up hope of a verdict in their favour. The ruling is likely to set an important precedent.

Czech RAF threatens violence over radar

An alleged Czech branch of the German left-wing terrorist group Red Army Faction has threatened violence if a US radar were to be deployed on Czech soil, the daily Lidove Noviny said on Tuesday. The group wrote on its web site that it would unleash “explosions, murder and violence” the moment that the first American soldier stepped on Czech soil. The paper says that the Czech counter-intelligence service is closely monitoring the group’s activities.

Russia says radar in Czech Republic amounts to meddling in its backyard

Russia is also stepping up opposition to the US missile defense shield in central Europe. Russia's armed forces chief on Tuesday compared the US plan to Moscow deploying missiles in Latin America. Chief of Staff Yury Baluyevsky said on Russia Today television that the US plan to station a tracking radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland amounted to meddling in Russia's backyard.

Transit fare hike on Prague public transport system

The Prague Town Hall has approved higher transit fares on the Prague public transport system. The cost of a single changing ticket is to go up by 6 CZK to 26 CZK (1.5 USD). The man in charge of Prague’s transport system, Martin Dvorak, originally wanted ticket prices to rise to 30 CZK, but this idea was vetoed by city councillors. Mr Dvorak and Prague Town Hall have reached a compromise with the 26 CZK fare, which is set to come into operation as of the 1st January 2008. A single non-transferable ticket will rise in price from 14 crowns to 18 CZK, while the cost of an annual travel card will rise as well.

Not everyone is happy with the solution, the Green Party have criticized the move, saying that it makes travelling by public transport in Prague more expensive, relatively speaking, than in New York or Paris. This is the first price rise to affect the capital’s public transport system since 2005.

Klaus accepts Cunek’s resignation

President Klaus has accepted the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Local Development Jiri Cunek from both government posts. Mr. Cunek handed in his resignation last Wednesday in the wake of a drawn-out scandal over his private finances. The Christian Democratic Party, of which he remains leader, is to meet later today to consider who they should propose as his successor.

Czech air-force shadows Iranian plane

Tuesday’s Pravo reported that last Thursday, the Czech air force had been called upon to shadow an Iranian plane, flying across Czech airspace and carrying on board, according to American military information, radioactive material. According to a spokesperson for the Czech Defence Ministry, fighter-jets were dispatched to ‘shadow, and not accompany’ the Iranian plane. Officials from the Czech air force told journalists that they took over surveillance of the plane from the Slovaks at the Slovak border, before handing it over to the Germans as it entered their airspace. The whole surveillance mission was NATO organized, generals told Pravo.

Vietnamese to be guest member of Czech government minorities’ council

A representative of the Vietnamese community will as of now attend as a guest the meetings of the Czech Government Minorities Council, Dzamila Stehlikova council chairwoman and minister for human rights and minorities, told journalists on Tuesday. She said that in this way the council could work more efficiently in helping to integrate the Vietnamese community into Czech society and to solve problems related to the community, such as illegal employment, people-smuggling and drug peddling. According to statistics 47,000 Vietnamese now live in the country legally.

Police investigating shooting incident on Wenceslas Square

The police are investigating a shooting incident on Wenceslas Square, which left one man seriously injured. Eyewitnesses say that two foreign nationals, most likely from Eastern Europe, were having a fight when one of them pulled out a gun and fired. The injured man, who is believed to be around 35 years of age, was operated on at the Teaching Hospital on Karlovo Namesti. He remains in critical condition.

Opposition leader confirms wedding date

Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has confirmed that he and his partner Petra Kovacova will be married this Saturday at Hotel Esplanade in the spa town of Marianske Lazne. He said the wedding ceremony would be a private event to which only family and friends were invited. The opposition leader’s private life hit the headlines early this summer when it emerged that he and his wife of thirty years Zuzana Paroubkova were heading for divorce.

Sparta beat Bohemians in Prague derby 3:1

Sparta beat Bohemians 1905 3:1 in a Prague football derby on Monday night. The win sees Sparta move back up to second place in the Gambrinus Liga, four points behind their rivals Slavia. Martin Zeman, Pavel Horvath and Libor Dosek scored for Sparta, while Bohemians’ consolation goal was scored by Michal Ordos.

Weather

The next few days are expected to be overcast with scattered snow showers and daytime highs ranging between 2 and -2 degrees Celsius.