News

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Pilsen marks 62 years since liberation by US troops

The West Bohemian town of Pilsen has commemorated the 62nd anniversary of the town's liberation by United States troops. Sunday was the main day of the three-day celebrations in the town as it was on May 6th, 1945 that US troops as well as Belgian soldiers arrived in Pilsen to liberate it from Nazi occupiers. Since 1990, veterans of the operation from both countries have been coming to Pilsen regularly to take part in the celebrations. This year's festivities culminated in a memorial event on Sunday afternoon, attended by the prime minister, several cabinet members and other state officials as well as the ambassadors of the United States and Belgium. The rest of the country will mark the anniversary of liberation day on Tuesday, May 8th, a national holiday in the Czech Republic.

Village reject US radar base in unbinding referendum

All residents of the village of Visky who took part in a local referendum on Saturday unanimously rejected the planned stationing of a US radar base in the nearby Brdy training ground. Out of the 31 eligible voters, 30 came to voice their view and all of them said No to the radar base, Mayor Lubomir Fiala told reporters. The referendum, which is not binding, follows a similar vote held in the nearby village of Trokavec in March which overwhelmingly rejected the US installation.

The United States has asked the Czech Republic to host a radar installation as part of a broader missile defence shield the US has planned in Europe. Negotiations on a possible US radar base in the Czech Republic will continue between Czech and US representatives until later this year. Polls suggest most Czechs are opposed to the plan, as are the opposition Communists and most of the opposition Social Democrats. Another village in the Brdy area is to hold a vote on June 2, two days before US President George Bush visits the Czech Republic to back the US request.

Another village rejects US radar in poll

Meanwhile, the residents of the nearby village of Prikosice also rejected the plan to build a US radar base in a local poll on Saturday. The ballot was attended by 78.4 percent of local residents, all of whom said that they did not want the radar installation in the area, mayor Jan Krhoun told reporters. Mr Krhoun said the results were not binding for the town hall which, as he said, had no legal opportunities and can only protest by publicising the results of their poll.

PM to visit Pakistan, Georgia next week

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is scheduled to begin a two-day official visit to Pakistan on Tuesday, the first ever visit by a Czech premier to that country. On Thursday, the prime minister will travel to Georgia in the Caucasus region. During the five-day trip, Mr Topolanek is due to meet his counterparts, Shaukat Aziz and Zurab Noghaideli, and talks in both countries will concern security and political issues as well as economic cooperation. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek will be travelling with Trade and Industry Minister Martin Riman, the President of the Czech Academy of Sciences Vaclav Paces and Culture Minister Vaclav Jehlicka as well as a delegation of Czech businessmen.

Body of soldier killed in Afghanistan repatriated

A Czech army special landed in Prague on Sunday afternoon carrying the body of a Czech soldier killed by a landslide of rock and mud in Afghanistan last week. The accident in which another five soldiers were injured, one of them seriously, happened on Thursday night during a strong storm about 30 kilometres from the Czechs' base. Four vehicles and fourteen military personnel were travelling in the area when the landslide occurred. Eighty-three Czech soldiers are working along German and Danish troops in Badakhshan Province and the Czech Republic also operates a military field hospital in the Aghan capital Kabul.

Czech Social Democrats win one seat in Senate in by-elections

Social Democrat Jiri Lajtoch, the mayor of the town of Prerov, has been elected Senator for the Prerov constituency after winning 53.23 percent of votes in the second round of the Senate by-elections. Mr Lajtoch narrowly defeated Communist candidate Josef Nekl. The voter turnout in the Senate by-elections was 9.66 percent of eligible voters, the lowest in the history of Czech Senate elections. With 41 Senators, the Civic Democratic Party still holds a majority in the 81-member upper chamber. The number of Social Democrat Senators has risen to 13.

Kozeny expresses interest in pursuing political career

Czech born financier Viktor Kozeny who is wanted for extensive fraud and bribery both in the Czech Republic and the United States has said he might return to the Czech Republic after his court cases are settled. Mr Kozeny who has recently been released on bail from custody in the Bahamas where he is residing told Czech Television he was interested in pursuing a career in politics, adding his political views were close to the Civic Democratic Party. Mr Kozeny spent 18 months in jail in the Bahamas and was released after paying 300,000 USD in bail. A court will decide on July 23rd on the US request for Mr Kozeny's extradition. The Czech born fugitive billionaire faces prosecution in the United States after squandering millions of dollars from American investors in privatisation schemes in Azerbaijan.

Hundreds see controversial "Bodies" exhibition in one day

Hundreds of people came to see the controversial exhibition called "Bodies... the Exhibition" on Saturday, the day it opened at Prague's Lucerna Palace. The exhibition, seen by some 16 million viewers worldwide, features human bodies and body parts preserved using plastic. Organisers have suggested that the aim of the show is to allow visitors to see up-close the inner workings of the human body. According to the Aktualne.cz news server, the exhibition has been condemned by the Czech Anatomical Society which has called it "sensationalist and outrageous". The exhibition will last in Prague until September of this year.

Motorcycling: Pesek wins 125cc China Grand Prix

The Czech Republic's Lukas Pesek won the Chinese 125cc motorcycling Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sunday beating Spaniards Hector Faubel and Esteve Rabat. The 21-year-old Derbi team rider started from third and fell back early before surging into the lead with three laps to go to score his first victory in 58 starts. Pesek now tops the championship standings with 71 points. Hungary's Gabor Talmacsi, who finished fourth, has 69 points with Faubel on 67.

Czech Republic 2 Slovakia 3 at IHWC

The Czech national squad was defeated by Slovakia in the 2nd round of the World Ice Hockey Championship in Russia on Saturday. The Czechs opened the scoring in the 1st period, but the Slovaks dominated play in the 2nd, scoring two goals. In the 3rd the Czechs managed to pull within one goal but were unable to tie the game. The loss is the second-straight for the Czech team which next faces Canada on Sunday in qualification for the playoff round.

Weather

The beginning of the week should be partly cloudy with temperatures reaching highs of 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.