News

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Fugitive Czech businessman unfazed by Czech-Seychelles extradition treaty

Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir has said he is not worried about a new draft extradition treaty signed between the Czech Republic and the Seychelles. The controversial billionaire businessman, who now holds Seychelles citizenship, is wanted by the Czech authorities for suspected criminal activities, including the planned murder of a customs official. Mr Krejcir said on Friday that even if the deal was approved by the Seychelles parliament it would only affect those who were guilty of the most serious crimes such as murder and that he had never been involved in anything like that. If approved, the draft treaty signed on Friday will apply to citizens of both the Czech Republic and the Seychelles, but will also allow for extradition requests to be turned down.

Collection for Romany families in Vsetin dropped

The Czech Minister without Portfolio Dzamila Stehlikova has dropped the idea of a collection for Romany families evicted by municipal authorities in the Moravian town of Vsetin. The Green Party minister had wanted to raise money for Romanies evicted from buildings in Vsetin last autumn as rent-defaulters and moved to rundown buildings in the Moravian Jeseniky region so that they could carry out basic repairs to their new dwellings, The evicted Romanies said they appreciated Minister Stehlikova's interest but have refused her offer of assistance. They said any financial help should come from the town of Vsetin, which was responsible for their situation.

President Vaclav Klaus meets minister president of Saxony

Czech President Vaclav Klaus met with the minister president of Saxony Georg Milbradt on Saturday as part of a two-day visit to the German region. President Klaus - who accepted an honorary degree from Dresden's University of Technology on Friday - said it was important for the Czech Republic to establish closer ties with neighbouring regions of Germany and Austria and that the countries' leaders shouldn't just concentrate on visits to each other's capitals. Georg Milbradt for his part stressed that he held similar opinions to the Czech president on issues such as European integration, an attitude that is in contrast with those of his Bavarian counterpart Edmund Stoiber.

Social Democrats want to create parliamentary committee to deal with "Kubice report"

The central executive committee of the Social Democratic Party has said it wants to push through the creation of a parliamentary committee to deal with the so-called "Kubice report." The report compiled by police officer Jan Kubice last June indicated that there were alleged links between organised crime and the civil service. The Social Democrats already tried to establish a committee to investigate the matter late last year, but the governing coalition opposed it.

Meanwhile on Friday, Czech police decided due to lack of evidence to shelve their investigation into the allegedly planned murder of Mr Kubice in connection with his report.

Social Democrats call on rebel MPs to support party programme

Senior opposition Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek and the head of the parliamentary group of Social Democrat MPs Michal Hasek have called on rebel deputies Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka to support the party's programme. Melcak and Pohanka were elected to the lower house of parliament as Social Democrat MPs in June but later defied party orders by not voting against the centre-right government of Mirek Topolanek in a confidence vote. Pohanka subsequently left the party and Melcak was expelled. In an open letter Paroubek and Hasek asked Melcak and Pohanka to support the government's energy and tax policies as well as its planned changes to the sickness benefit system. Former Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said that the party's relations with Melcak and Pohanka would improve if they backed the Social Democrats' programme. Nevertheless, the Social Democrat leadership did not say if Melcak and Pohanka's support would lead to their membership being renewed.

Two-thirds of Czechs think Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek should resign, says poll

Two thirds of Czechs think that Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Christian Democrats Jiri Cunek should resign, according to a new opinion poll released on Saturday. The poll conducted by the Factum Invenio agency showed that 31.7% of respondents felt that Mr Cunek should definitely resign and 33.3% felt he should probably resign. Only 5.2% of respondents definitely thought that Mr Cunek should remain in his post. Mr Cunek is suspected by police of receiving a 500,000-crown bribe from a real-estate company when he was the mayor of the Moravian town of Vsetin five years ago. Mr Cunek says he intends to fight the charges and has no intention of resigning.

Lawyer rejects out of court settlement with the Social Democrats

Lawyer Zden"k Altner who is suing the Social Democrats for nearly 19 billion crowns or roughly 890 million dollars, has said he will not conclude an out-of-court settlement with the party. Altner told journalists at a press conference on Friday that he was not convinced that the offer of a settlement from Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek was a serious one. He says he now intends to proceed with his petition to the courts to have the Social Democrats declared bankrupt. Altner claims he is owed 93 million crowns or 4.3 million US dollars from the Social Democrats for services he gave them in a legal dispute over the ownership of the party's headquarters in the 1990s and that this has now risen to 19 billion crowns due to fines and late-payment penalties. The Social Democrat leadership says Altner's claims are exaggerated and unsubstantiated and would not stand up in court.

Police clash with anarchists in Beroun

Police have clashed with around a 100 anarchists in the town of Beroun near Prague. Police used smoke bombs to disperse the anarchists, who were trying to break-up a demonstration by extreme right-wing nationalists against the building of a proposed US radar base in the Czech Republic. Several anarchists were arrested for throwing objects at the police. Many restaurants and shops in the town closed their businesses to avoid the demonstrations.

Cross-country skiers win world championship bronze

Czech cross-country skiers Dusan Kozisek and Milan Sperl have surprisingly won a bronze medal in the men's team sprint at the world ski championships in Sapporo, Japan. Kozisek and Sperl finished less than a second behind the Italian pairing of Renato Pasini and Cristian Zorzi with a time of 17.51 seconds. It was a particularly sweet moment for both men who had been at the centre of a selection mix-up during an Olympic relay race in Turin last year, which scuppered the Czech Republic's chances of a medal in the event.

Weather

The weather is expected to be cloudy or overcast with occasional showers in the west of the country. Highest daytime temperatures should range between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.