News

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New Bavarian PM calls for dialogue with Prague on Benes decrees

The new Bavarian Prime Minister Guenther Beckstein called for a dialogue with the Czech Republic on the post-war Benes decrees in his first address to representatives of the Sudeten German Landsmannschaft in Munich on Saturday. Mr Beckstein called for the abolition of the decrees saying they were in contradiction with international law, natural law, human rights and European law.

The decrees, issued by former Czechoslovak president Edvard Benes, provided for the confiscation of property from collaborators, traitors, ethnic Germans and Hungarians, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans and Hungarians from Czechoslovakia. A large part of the deported ethnic Germans then found a new home in Bavaria. Mr Beckstein's predecessor Edmund Stoiber never paid an official visit to the Czech Republic during his 14 years in office.

Christian Democrats opposed to Prague Olympics if they were to burden state

The coalition Christian Democrats say they are opposed to the plan by the Prague City Hall to host the 2016 Olympic Games. After a party meeting on Friday evening, the leader of the Prague branch Marian Hosek said his party believed the event would be megalomaniac and would imply a deficit in the Prague municipal budget as well as burden the whole state budget. Christian Democrat chairman, Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister Jiri Cunek indicated that he shared this opinion. The idea to host the Olympic Games in Prague is being promoted by the Prague City Hall and Mayor Pavel Bem of the Civic Democrats.

Prague officially joined the battle for organising the 2016 Olympics in September when Mr Bem, along with the Czech Olympic Committee chairman Milan Jirasek, signed a letter declaring Prague's interest in this respect. An economic study has preliminarily put the costs of the possible Olympics at 490 billion crowns.

Czech-US study finds link between air pollution and bronchitis in children

A study released by Czech and US scientists says small children living in polluted areas face a higher risk of suffering from bronchitis than their peers living in a less polluted environment. The study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal blames the trend on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the product of burning, which are carried by fine dust particles in the air. Over a thousand children in the Czech Republic were tested in the late 1990s. The study concluded children between two and 4.5 years of age are 56 percent more likely to develop bronchitis.

665 domestic violence offenders evicted from homes in 2007

A Czech NGO helping the victims and witnesses of crime says police have evicted 665 domestic violence offenders, five of them women, from their homes in the first nine months of this year. According to the organisation Bily kruh bezpeci, 664 women and 25 men were immediately threatened by domestic violence and 773 children witnessed the police interventions. In 32 cases, a person was evicted repeatedly. According to statistics, most cases of domestic violence have been reported in North Moravia, followed by South Moravia. A law allowing courts to ban domestic violence offenders from their homes for ten days after an incident came into force in January this year.

Pardubice ready for Princess Anne visit

The organisers of events at Pardubice Racecourse say the venue is ready for Sunday's visit by Princess Anne. They also say drivers on the road between Hradec Kralove and Chrudim may experience difficulties. The princess is due to arrive in Pardubice, east Bohemia, aboard a Royal Air Force aircraft used by the British Royal family. Her schedule will include a visit to the 117th Grand Pardubice steeple chase, where she will present the prize to the winner. The princess, who is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, is also scheduled to meet President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, as well as to visit schools and charity organisations.

Railway inspectors investigate alleged breach of safety regulations

Czech railway inspectors are investigating a possible breach of safety regulations by the national rail operator Czech Railways which allegedly let former Formula One racer Emerson Fittipaldi drive a high-speed Pendolino train, the iDnes server reported on Friday. iDnes said it had filed a complaint with railway inspectors based on a reader's observation. It brought pictures of Fittipaldi, the 1972 and 1974 Formula One champion, sitting in the driver's compartment. The server quotes a Czech Railways spokesman as saying that "Mr Fittipaldi only sat in the driver's compartment to pose for a photographer but certainly did not drive".

Polish lobbyist Spyra released on bail

Polish lobbyist Jacek Spyra, accused of attempted fraud, was released from custody in Prague's Pankrac prison on a two-million-crown bail on Friday, the Novinky.cz server reported. Mr Spyra is suspected of having offered Andrej Babis, the owner of Agrofert company, to help him get rid of troubles with his investigation in Poland in exchange for a 10-million-crown bribe. Mr Spyra allegedly told Mr Babis that high-ranking Polish officials were interested in criminalising him but their efforts could be stopped. In reaction to it, Agrofert lodged a criminal complaint against Mr Spyra who was eventually detained at a meeting with an Agrofert employee who was to hand over the money to him. If found guilty, Mr Spyra faces up to 12 years in prison.

Andrej Babis was among the bidders in the privatisation of the Czech petrochemical giant Unipetrol. The Czech state finally sold the company to Polish PKN Orlen. Both Czech and Polish police investigated the circumstances of the deal on suspicion of corruption.

Memorial raised to US fighter pilot in Brno

The city of Brno has raised a memorial to US pilot William Kiggins who was shot down over the city 63 years ago. The monument has the shape of a wing of his P-51 Mustang aircraft whose parts were discovered five months ago two metres underground in one of the city's districts. William Kiggins' fighter plane was shot down on October 11, 1944 by German antiaircraft artillery and "Miss Betty", as he affectionately called his aircraft, crashed in a field. A local woman who remembers the crash helped identify the exact spot where the remnants of the aircraft were eventually discovered. The local authorities are planning to put them on display at an airport in Brno.

Pilot dies in motor glider crash

One man was killed and another sustained serious injuries in a motor glider crash at the airport in Sumperk, North Moravia, on Saturday morning. According to local police, the motor glider crashed shortly after takeoff and caught fire. The pilot died in the accident, the other man was transported by a helicopter to a burns clinic in Ostrava.

Weather

The coming days should be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius.