News

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Pospisil defends supreme state attorney over Cunek case intervention

Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil has defended a decision by the supreme state attorney to remove the prosecutor overseeing the case of Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek. On Friday, supreme state attorney Renata Vesecka replaced the prosecutor, saying he had made procedural errors. The opposition Social Democrats said, however, that she had interfered for political reasons as a case of alleged bribe-taking against Mr Cunek was about to come to court. Mr Pospisil said on Tuesday that a ministry analysis showed Ms Vesecka had acted in accordance with the law. He called on the Social Democrats to refrain from "politicising" the issue.

Three-quarters for more women in politics

Almost three quarters of Czechs believe there are too few women in politics, suggests a poll carried out by the CVVM agency for the pressure group Forum 50%. Seventy-seven percent of Czechs believe there should be active support for female participation in politics. Just under 40 percent are in favour of a quota system to that end, the poll indicates.

Two drown after attempting to evade police in Ostrava

Two men drowned in Ostrava on Tuesday after jumping into a river in an attempt to escape from the police. A third man managed to swim across the Odra, while a fourth was prevented from entering the river, a fire service spokesperson said. The police said the men had been stealing copper piping from a nearby museum of mining. Both bodies have been retrieved by police divers.

Construction output up over 17 percent in April

Czech construction output grew by over 17 percent year-on-year in constant prices in April. It was the fifth straight month when construction in the Czech Republic achieved growth in double figures, the Czech Statistical Office said. Meanwhile, analysts say building firms are struggling to keep up with demand; they expect both labour and materials to become more costly.

Paroubek says US base could mean shift in Czech foreign policy

Opposition leader Jiri Paroubek says the planned building of a US radar base in the Czech Republic would change the country's foreign policy, representing a "swing towards the United States to the detriment of the European Union". In an open letter to the prime minister, the Social Democrats boss called on Mr Topolanek to have the courage to explain the security implications of the planned base for Czech citizens. Mr Paroubek pointed out that polls suggest most Czechs are opposed to it being built. Mr Topolanek, a strong advocate of the planned radar, has rejected calls for a referendum on the issue. The base would be part of a United States global anti-missile defence system.

Civic Democrats still ahead in opinion polls

The ruling Civic Democrats would win elections held tomorrow with 36 percent of the vote, suggests a poll carried out by the Median agency. The opposition Social Democrats would receive the support of 31 percent of voters, the survey indicates. Fifteen percent of respondents said they would vote for the Communists.

Budejovicky Budvar loses battle over non-beer products at European court

The Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar has lost a court battle aimed at preventing America's Anheuser-Busch from using the Budweiser and Budvar brand names on non-beer products such as T-shirts and barbecue sauces. The Czech firm had sought to prevent Anheuser-Busch from registering the brand names as trademarks throughout the European Union. But the European Court of First Instance ruled that the "appellations of origin relied on" by Budejovicky Budvar only applied to beer and other similar products.

Prague City Hall wants wrecked cars removed more quickly

Prague City Hall wants to put forward legislation under which owners would be obliged to remove clapped-out cars from the city's streets much more quickly than at present, Czech Television reported. Owners currently have two months to get rid of wrecked cars - City Hall wants to have that period cut to just one week. Deputy mayor Rudolf Blazek said the car wrecks were often stripped within two months, and parts were sometimes strewn about.

Skoda sales up, but radio shortage slowing production

Sales of Skoda cars increased by almost 14 percent in the first five months of this year, Pravo reported, quoting a spokesperson for Skoda Auto. The company says sales have increased in eastern Europe in particular. Meanwhile, a shortage of car radios is holding up production of Fabia and Roomster models for up to two weeks, reported Mlada fronta Dnes.

Culture Ministry to follow UNESCO advice over Pankrac skyscrapers

The Culture Ministry has postponed a decision on whether or not to allow the building of two new skyscrapers in Prague's Pankrac district. The ministry says it will follow the recommendations of a UNESCO committee which is looking into the matter. Some conservationists say a 31-storey office building and a 21-storey hotel would be a blot on the city's horizon. There are already three tall buildings on Pankrac Plain, including a Czech Radio building which was never completed.

Marked increase in attendance at Czech cinemas

Czech cinemas have recorded marked increases in both attendance and receipts so far this year, the Union of Film Distributors said on Tuesday. Almost 3.5 million cinema tickets were sold in the first quarter, up around half a million on the same period last year. The increase has been attributed to the success of Czech films such as I Served the King of England by Jiri Menzel and Jan Sverak's Empties.

Czech Under 21s draw opening game against England at European Championships

The Czech Republic's footballers drew their opening game against England at the European Under 21 Championships in the Netherlands. Monday's game ended 0:0 after England missed a penalty in the 88th minute, following a hand-ball by Czech captain Roman Hubnik. He and his team-mates face Serbia in their next game on Thursday.

Promotion of Bohemians 1905 means four Prague clubs now in Czech top flight

Bohemians 1905 have been promoted to Czech football's first division, four years after exiting the top flight. Bohemians made a remarkable comeback from bankruptcy after an association of fans gathered the resources to revive the historic club, which even in the third and second divisions attracted gates that almost all top tier teams would envy. Viktoria Zizkov were already promoted, which means that with Sparta and Slavia the capital will have four teams in the first division.

Weather

It should remain hot here in the Czech Republic, with temperatures set to reach up to 32 degrees Celsius in the next few days. It will be mostly sunny with the chance of storms.