News

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Jan Hus - commemorative ceremonies

Protestant churches in the Czech Republic are commemorating the legacy of reformer priest Jan Hus who was burnt at the stake in 1415. In his memory July 6th is a national holiday in the Czech Republic. Services dedicated to him have been held in Hussite, Evangelical and other Protestant churches around the country. Jan Hus was born around 1370 and after studying in Prague was made parish priest at the city's Bethlehem chapel. He was strongly influenced by the English reformer priest John Wycliffe, whose writings he translated into Czech. Hus refused to renounce his faith and was declared a heretic and excommunicated by a Catholic tribunal, before being burnt at the stake.

Krejcir released on bail

A court in Johannesburg has released fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir on a three million crown bail. Court proceedings will continue with regard to his possible extradition to the Czech Republic where he is wanted for extensive fraud and conspiracy to murder. Krejcir has asked for asylum in South Africa claiming that he would be persecuted in his homeland and that the former government had ordered his father's murder. Radovan Krejcir fled the Czech Republic in 2005, escaping with his family while the police were raiding his villa, and started a new life in the Seychelles where he had acquired citizenship. He was arrested on an Interpol warrant in Johannesburg in April when trying to make a secret trip to South Africa.

Kozeny's extradition from the Bahamas could be complicated by new ruling

Another Czech fugitive businessman - Viktor Kozeny - also wanted for extensive fraud and corruption both in the Czech Republic and the United States remains in the Bahamas. Czech efforts to secure his extradition have not been successful and although it seemed that the United States would have more clout in this respect hopes that he would be brought to justice have now suffered a significant setback. A Chicago judge recently dismissed bribery charges against two of Kozeny's alleged accomplices - American businessmen accused of trying to pay-off top Azerbaijan officials over the country's abandoned 1990s oil privatisation programme. Judge Scheindlin dismissed the bribery counts against David Pinkerton, the former managing director of AIG Global Investment Corporation, and Frederic Bourke, the handbag tycoon, after ruling that the statute of limitations on the charges had expired. The pair still stands accused of making false statements. Although the judge did not dismiss the charges against Kozeny observers say this ruling is likely to help his defence.

Czech mayors join forces to fight US radar

The mayors of towns and villages in the Brdy Hills and other areas which have been considered as potential sites for the location of a US tracking radar on Czech territory have joined forces and say they will fight the plans tooth and nail. Several villages have already rejected the US radar in local referendums and opinion polls indicate that the majority of Czechs do not want it on Czech territory. Thirty five mayors say they will act together to get the attention of politicians, the government and the media. "We have contacted 90 newspapers and magazines the world over, and we are going to make ourselves heard - we do not want this radar in our backyard" mayor of Trokavec, Jan Neoral told the CTK. Prague and Washington have opened talks on the radar, but no commitment has yet been made.

Heightened incidence of tick-transmitted infections

Doctors have reported a heightened incidence of tick-transmitted infections in many parts of the Czech Republic. Since the beginning of spring, when ticks become active, over 1,000 people were infected, 69 of them developed tick-borne encephalitis, the others Lyme disease. Tick-borne encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain, which can cause permanent neurological damage and - in some cases - death. Only about 15 percent of Czechs have been vaccinated against it. To add to the problem, the health ministry failed to buy enough vaccines and they are now in short supply. Experts attribute the heightened incidence of ticks in many parts of the Czech Republic to the mild winter.

Congress of psychology in Prague

The European Federation of Psychologists' Associations /EFPA/ held its 10th European Congress of Psychology in Prague this week. Despite it being a European event it was attended by over 3,000 psychologists from around the world. The congress covered a wide range of topics: the current state of knowledge, "blank spaces" and the application of particular psychological disciplines in practice. EFPA was founded in 1981 to promote co-operation within European psychology and to increase the influence of psychologists in Europe. Today it has over 200,000 members in 32 European states.

Czech man drowns in Great Britain

A thirty year old Czech man is reported to have drowned in Great Britain. The man was working as a farm hand in Kent and had gone for a swim in a nearby lake. His friends said he dived in and failed to come up and although several people jumped into the water to try and find him no one did. It took divers 24 hours to find his dead body. An autopsy is being carried out to ascertain the cause of death.

Tennis -Nadal beats Berdych in straight sets to reach semi-finals

French Open champion Rafael Nadal beat Tomas Berdych 7-6 6-4 6-2 to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second successive year on Friday. The players had trouble adjusting to the wind on Centre Court in the opening games with number two seed Nadal breaking Berdych's serve in the second and the Czech, seeded seventh, breaking back immediately. Nadal turned on the power in the first set tiebreak, going 5-0 up before winning it 7-1 to take the set in 58 minutes. He took control of the match then and never relinquished it.

Both Berdych and 14th seed Nicole Vaidisova won a place in the quarterfinals for the first time ever but neither realized their hope of advancing to the semi-finals. Nicole Vaidisova dropped out on Thursday after taking a beating from the Serbian sixth seed Ana Ivanovic.

Ice hockey: Dominator inks new deal with NHL Wings at age 42

Czech star goaltender Dominik Hasek, still showing top form at age 42, agreed to terms Friday with the Detroit Red Wings on a new one-year National Hockey League contract. The deal, reportedly worth more than two million dollars, makes the six-time Vezina Trophy winner as top NHL netminder a Red Wing for his 15th NHL season.

Weather

The next few days are expected to bring both rain and shine with day temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.