News

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All charges against Jiri Cunek dropped

The case of Jiri Cunek has come to an end, the daily Lidove Noviny's website reported on Monday. State prosecutor Arif Salichov, responsible for the case, dropped all charges against Jiri Cunek, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development and the chairman of Social Democrats, one of the three parties in the government. According to Deputy Head State Prosecutor in Olomouc Igor Striz, whose office was supervising the case, no criminal offence was committed.

Jiri Cunek was being investigated for taking bribes during his term as the mayor of Vsetin, North Moravia. The case, which took almost eight months to resolve, caused a lot of tension in the government. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, of Civic Democrats, was under pressure from the opposition to dismiss Cunek from his government.

MEP Josef Zieleniec to face Vaclav Klaus in presidential elections

Former foreign minister and current Member of the European Parliament Josef Zieliniec expressed his intetntions of facing the incumbent Vaclav Klaus in the presidential elections next year, the website tyden.cz reported on Monday. He will be nominated by a small liberal party known as the Association of Independent Candidates - European Democrats. The party is to issue an official statement on Tuesday.

Between 1992 and 1997, Josef Zieleniec was the Czech foreign minister in governments formed by the Civic Democrats. He later became both an MP and a Senator. In 2004, he was elected a Member of the European Parliament. Mr Zieliniec is another politician, after Jiri Dienstbier, who expressed his intentions to run for office in the presidential elections held in February next year.

Supreme Court upholds ruling on Spejbl & Hurvinek ownership rights

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower-instance court decision on ownership rights to Spejbl and Hurvinek, two legendary marionette characters dating back to Czechoslovakia's First Republic. The court on Monday confirmed last year's ruling that the rights belong to Helena Stachova, director of the Spejbl + Hurvinek theatre in Prague. The registered trademark had been contested in a nine-year-long legal battle by a theatre in Pilsen with ties to puppeteer Josef Skupa, the original voice behind both characters. He was succeeded by Milos Kirschner, who later had the trademark registered. It was inherited by his widow. The names Spejbl and Hurvinek are instantly recognisable to most Czechs; the characters are also well-known internationally.

Project to map stores of those killed during 1968 invasion

Historians are planning a project which will map the stories of Czechoslovak citizens who died tragically during the Soviet-led invasion of Czechosl ovakia in 1968. The Institute of Contemporary History has reportedly begun contacting surviving relatives and friends for information, photographs, and other documentation. 72 people were killed in the first fourteen days or so following the August 21st invasion. The occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops crushed the period of reforms known as the Prague Spring. The project now underway will help mark the 40th anniversary of the invasion next year.

Condition of lowland gorilla improved

The condition of a lowland gorilla named Kijivu at Prague Zoo has reportedly improved: the ape fell ill with intestinal colic at the weekend. Officials were especially worried because the gorilla had stopped feeding her two-month old baby, Tatu. Zoo workers had considered taking the baby from the mother so it could be fed artificially. But in the end, the step was not necessary. Despite the ape's improved condition, the gorilla pavilion at the zoo remains closed to visitors for the time being.

Former head of Frydek-Mistek Traffic Inspection sentenced for drink driving

The former head of the Traffic Inspection in Frydek-Mistek, Michal Cas has received a one-year suspended sentence for drink driving. Last July, while under the influence, the former police officer caused a car accident injuring two others. Mr Cas claimed he was innocent, saying a friend had been at the wheel at the time. Mr Cas has been banned from driving for four years. He immediately appealed Monday's decision.

Antiquarian bookshops see increase in Internet sales

More and more brick & mortar antiquarian bookshops in the Czech Republic are beginning to successfully sell books, prints, and vinyl records over the Internet. According to sellers, interest abroad in rare books or prints remains high. People from smaller towns or villages in the Czech Republic, too, are apparently showing an interest, not least because rare books often remain specific to certain regions. One bookseller, who began his website in 2005, told the CTK news agency that currently the Internet represented about 5 - 10 percent of his sales.

Anti-monopoly office ruled breweries must allow customers export beer

The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition ruled on Monday that breweries must change contracts in which they ban their customers, especially pub owners in areas close to the Czech border, from exporting Czech beer. According to the Office, such provisions are not legal and interfere with competition law. The breweries claim they have already corrected the contracts.

Afghan boy to be treated in the Czech Republic

Hamidolla, a four-year-old boy from Afghanistan will receive medical treatment in the Czech Republic as part of the MEDEVAC programme, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said on Monday. The boy, who lives in a small community in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, suffered severe burns. After the village elders approved of the offer, the boy was transported to Kabul together with his uncle and will arrive in the Czech Republic in the next few days. He will be treated in Prague's Vinohrady Hospital.

Slavia CL preliminary will not be broadcast

The second leg of the UEFA Champions League's fourth preliminary round in Prague between Slavia and the Slovak champion Zilina scheduled for Wednesday will not be broadcast by Czech TV, Slavia's manager Petr Dolezal said Monday. The club was offended by Czech TV's offer of CZK 1,000 (USD 50) for broadcasting rights.

Weather

The start of the week will see mostly sunshine with some cloudy periods. Daily temperatures should reach highs between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius. Some rainfall has been forecast for later in the week, Wednesday or Thursday.