News

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UN makes number of criticisms of Czech Republic

In a new report the United Nations Human Rights Committee criticises what it calls the continuing covert segregation of Romanies in the Czech education system, as well as the failure to compensate women who had been illegally sterilised. The UN report also denounces the use of caged beds in Czech psychiatric hospitals, and calls for the establishment of an independent body to investigate complaints against the police.

EC approves Czech plan to draw funds in 2007-2013 period

The European Commission has formally accepted a Czech national plan to draw on EU funds in the period 2007 to 2013. Friday's agreement brings to an end months of negotiations. However, the actual drawing of EU money requires European Commission approval of 24 individual Czech programmes focused on various sectors; that process should begin at the end of September and come to a conclusion next year.

Speaking in Brussels on Friday, the Czech minister for regional development, Jiri Cunek, said the country could already be making use of the EU funding, if it had not been for delays caused by the previous government and the stalemate which followed elections last June.

Top traffic cop gets the chop

The head of the Czech Republic's traffic police Zdenek Bambas has been sacked after 14 years in the post. In a statement, the police presidium said the traffic police had been the subject of public dissatisfaction in recent months, adding that people associated the force with corruption and a lack of professionalism. Interior Minister Ivan Langer had previously said Mr Bambas was deaf and blind to the problems facing the police.

Pensioner shoots neighbours over dispute

A 70-year-old man shot two of his neighbours dead in the north Bohemian town of Ostrov on Thursday, police said. The motive is believed to have been a long-running dispute between the man and his neighbours, who were a couple in their 50s. The perpetrator himself phoned the police after the shooting.

Boeing to begin planning bases in Czech Republic and Poland

The American company Boeing has received the green light to begin preparing plans for the building of US anti-missile bases in the Czech Republic. Washington wants to locate a radar base in central Bohemia with Prague set to decide on the matter next year. Polls have consistently suggested that most Czechs are opposed to the construction of such a facility.

German teenager dies after two glider collide in Liberec

A 14-year-old German boy died when two gliders collided near Liberec on Thursday. The boy was at the controls of one of the gliders, despite not having a license. An instructor, who was sitting beside him, suffered only minor injuries. It is believed the accident occurred when the one of the gliders attempted to perform acrobatic tricks.

Headstones vandalised at Jewish cemetery in Pisek

Twenty-three headstones in a Jewish graveyard in Pisek have been vandalised, police said. One of the cemetery's walls has been the subject of vandalism for the last two months. The graveyard dates from 1879. It is on the outskirts of the south Bohemian town and is normally locked and unvisited.

Cuts could lead to reduced funding for Karlovy Vary film festival

Cuts to the Culture Ministry's budget could mean the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival receives less state funding, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The festival currently gets an annual grant of CZK 30 million (almost USD 1.5 million). Culture Minister Vaclav Jehlicka said the aim was to ensure smaller events received sufficient funding. Meanwhile, the ministry is considering merging the National Theatre and the State Opera, the paper said.

Music in the Park festival begins

A two-day festival called Music in the Park is getting underway at Prague's Stromovka, the biggest park in the Czech capital. Among the artists taking part are jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine, New Orleans legend Dr John and Lauryn Hill, formerly of the Fugees.

Weather

Temperatures should reach a maximum of about 23 degrees Celsius over the next few days. Forecasters say we can expect some sunshine and rain in places.