News

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Extensive repairs begin on Charles Bridge

Extensive repair work has begun on one of Prague's most famous landmarks, Charles Bridge. Parts of the 14th century structure will remain open throughout what is the first major overhaul in three decades. The first stage of the repairs should be completed in 2010, while a second stage could last around a decade. Celebrations were held last month to mark the 650th anniversary of the foundation of Charles Bridge.

Critics can amend taxation reforms later, says PM ahead of vote

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says critics of a government fiscal reform bill will have a chance next year to change the taxation system by means of amendments. Mr Topolanek made the comments ahead of a lower house vote on a package of changes to the Czech welfare and taxation systems on Tuesday. Rebels within his Civic Democratic Party led by Vlastimil Tlusty have threatened to vote against the reforms. The prime minister has said he will push for early elections if the bill is defeated.

No university for Terezin, committee decides

A plan to create a university in the former World War II ghetto of Terezin has been abandoned. A committee made up of representatives of the central Bohemian town and seven ministries has voted for another proposal, under which a number of smaller projects would help revitalize Terezin. Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said one of the main obstacles was the reluctance of Prague's Charles University to take part in the Terezin university project. He added that the cost was also prohibitive.

Rare 1968 resistance posters uncovered

Rare hand-made posters dating from the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led forces have been discovered at Prague's Institute of Military History, Lidove noviny reported. A collection of almost 130 posters calling on citizens to resist the invasion was found in a bundle of maps, the paper said. They were originally placed around the top of Wenceslas Square, and were saved by somebody from the institute after an order was made for their removal. There are plans to exhibit the posters next August, 40 years after the invasion.

MEP Zelezny gets suspended sentence for tax evasion

Czech MEP Vladimir Zelezny has been found guilty of tax evasion. A Prague court handed the former TV mogul a suspended jail term and a fine of CZK 5m (almost USD 250,000) for not paying import duty on valuable paintings which he bought abroad. A co-defendant, George Novotny, also received a suspended sentence. Mr Zelezny denied the charges, accusing Mr Novotny, a gallery owner, of illegally importing the paintings without his knowledge.

Cervicek to be named head of traffic police

Martin Cervicek has been chief of the Czech Republic's traffic police. His predecessor, Zdenek Bambas, had headed the country's traffic police for 14 years before being fired last month. Mr Cervicek is reported to have been the only officer to apply for the job. He told reporters on Monday that he wanted to transfer some powers to regional police branches and said occasional national operations aimed at driving offences would be replaced by smaller operations focused on black spots.

Tesco enters local store market in Czech Republic

The retailer Tesco is to compete with smaller grocery shops in the Czech Republic with the opening of "Expres" stores in urban areas. Tesco, which runs 84 shopping centres, supermarkets and hypermarkets in the Czech Republic, is to open its first small shop on Prague's Belehradska on Tuesday. It plans to open ten more local stores in the capital within two years.

Czech surgeons teaching US counterparts via web how to perform stomach operation

Czech surgeons are to demonstrate a stomach operation to colleagues in Cincinnati in the United States via the internet. The surgery, known as "Swedish bandage", is aimed at combating obesity when other methods fail. It is not carried out in the US. The demonstration is set to be performed by doctors at Prague's ISCARE clinic on Tuesday.

Czech tennis ace Berdych reaches career-best ninth in world rankings

The leading Czech men's tennis player Tomas Berdych is now ninth in the world rankings, his highest placing to date. The 21-year-old climbed from tenth after reaching the third round at a tournament in Cincinnati. Berdych's girlfriend Lucie Safarova is now 22nd in the women's world rankings, which is also a career best.

Downpours cause damage in Prague

Heavy downpours caused flooding in parts of the Czech capital on Sunday night. Firefighters were called out to deal with flooding at Prague's Vinohrady hospital, while some cellars and basement flats were also hit.

Weather

It should get gradually warmer over the next few days, with temperatures of up to 28 degrees Celsius expected. There should be more rain, but we can also expect some sunny spells.