News

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Czech and US negotiators to resume talks on radar base at end of May

Czech and American negotiators have concluded two days of talks on the possible building of a US radar base in the Czech Republic. They will resume talks at the end of May when the focus will be on the main treaty on the deployment of the radar. A Czech Defence Ministry spokesperson said negotiations would probably last for a year. An opinion poll this week suggested that 61 percent of Czechs were opposed to the US radar base, which would be part of a global anti missile defence system.

Sister of abused boy runs away from children's home

The sister of an 8-year-old boy who was severely abused by his mother has run away from a children's home in Brno. Police have been searching for the girl, who is 13, since she absconded on Thursday night. Carers said they were worried the girl, who displays signs of mental trauma, might try to take her own life. Lidove noviny reported that the authorities had no record of the girl's existence. Earlier this week the children's mother was arrested after a neighbour discovered the boy was being kept naked and bound in the dark in a storage room. The mother, who was studying to be a teacher, has been remanded in custody and could face a jail term of eight years.

Almost 1,000 licenses confiscated since July under points system

Almost 1,000 drivers have had their licenses confiscated since a points system for driving offences was introduced last July, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Over 400,000 drivers have picked up at least one point, the daily said. Those who receive 12 points are barred from driving for one year. The measure was introduced in an effort to curb the high number of road deaths in the Czech Republic.

Women's group calls for apology from Czech PM Topolanek

The European Women's Lobby has asked Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek for a public apology for remarks he made about gender equality. Speaking at an event launching the European Year of Equal Opportunities, he said women can freely decide whether to have children or not, which means they have the same opportunities as men. In a letter to Mr Topolanek the president of the European Women's Lobby, Kirsti Kolthoff, described his comments as shameful and degrading to women, adding that it was unacceptable for a senior representative of a European Union state to make such remarks.

Interior Minister back pedals over neighbourhood watch idea

Interior Minister Ivan Langer appears to have back-pedalled over the idea of introducing a civilian neighbourhood watch scheme. Its inclusion in an Interior Ministry reform plan raised eyebrows, as it reminded many Czechs of the communist era when some people were recruited to spy on their neighbours. But Mr Langer told Pravo that he had not actually proposed the idea but merely raised it as a topic for discussion. His predecessor Frantisek Bublan described the neighbourhood watch idea as a "return to a police state".

Strong winds hit many parts of country

Firefighters were called out three times more often than usual on Friday as winds of up to 140 kilometres an hour hit many parts of the Czech Republic. A 71-year-old woman was killed in Dvur Kralove when she was hit by a falling tree in a wooded area. Two people were injured by falling trees in the Karlovy Vary region.

62nd Prague Spring music festival underway

The 62nd Prague Spring music festival has got underway in the Czech capital. It will feature around 50 concerts and around a dozen theatre performances between now and June 3. Around 50,000 tickets are sold during the festival, which originally grew out of celebrations marking the end of World War II. Since 1952 the Prague Spring has opened on May 12, the anniversary of the death of Bedrich Smetana, with his cycle of symphonic poems Ma vlast.

Press: architects could sue over National Library tender

An architects firm which was beaten by Jan Kaplicky in a tender to design a new National Library building on Prague's Letna Plain are considering suing, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Architects HSH, who came third in the tender, say Mr Kaplicky's winning design breaks one of its conditions because it would place ten million books underground. The firm has sent a letter of protest to the director of the National Library and is considering taking the matter to the Office for the Protection of Competition. If they do not receive satisfaction they may take the matter to court, said Mlada Fronta. The green blob-like design by Mr Kaplicky's company Future Systems has come in for a good deal of criticism. It should be completed by 2010.

Boy critical after being hit on head by backboard of basketball hoop

A 14-year-old boy is in a critical condition in hospital after the metal backboard of a basketball hoop fell on him at a school in Kravare, north Bohemia. The newspaper Denik reported that the boy sustained serious injuries after the construction fell on his head. He was flown to hospital in Liberec after the accident occurred on Friday.

Trabant lovers gather for festival

Around 50 Trabant cars took part in a rally from Prihrazy to Mnichov Hradiste in central Bohemia on Friday, at the beginning of a weekend-long festival. Organisers said they expected another 70 Trabant lovers to arrive in the course of the weekend. This year's festival is the second time Czech owners of the iconic East German vehicles have held such a gathering.

Prague to get mini Walk of Fame

Prague is set to get its own version of Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Lidove noviny reported. There are plans to place the hand prints and signatures of film greats such as director Milos Forman and cameraman Miroslav Ondricek under thick glass on Na prikpe Street in front of Slovansky Dum, home to a multiplex cinema. In the mid 1990s a Walk of Fame was planned in front of the now closed cinema 64 U Hradeb, but the project never came to fruition.

Hasek into Stanley Cup semis after star performance

The veteran Czech goaltender Dominik Hasek has reached the semi-finals of ice hockey's Stanley Cup with Detroit Red Wings. Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said Hasek, who is 42, had turned in a star performance in the team's 2:1 win over Anaheim on Friday.

Elias sues former agents for million dollars

Meanwhile, hockey star Patrik Elias is suing his former agents for a million dollars. Elias has accused agents Mark Gandler and Todd Diamond of encouraging him to invest in restaurants in New York and Chicago and then putting the money into their own business.

Weather

It should remain changeable over the next couple of days, with sunshine and rain forecast. And it will be warm - up to 30 degrees Celsius at the start of the week.