News

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Lower house calls on three ministers to step down

The lower house of the Czech Parliament has called on Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Interior Minister Ivan Langer and deputy Prime Minister Petr Necas to step down over their statements regarding the leaks from the so-called Kubice report. The lower house agreed at its Friday session that the three Civic Democrat officials had alleged without providing evidence that the former government of prime minister Jiri Paroubek had misused police wiretappings carried out in connection with the case.

Langer says more than 40 wiretappings in "Kubice report" case

Interior Minister Ivan Langer said earlier on Friday more than 40 wiretappings of politicians, journalists and their family members were carried out in the investigation into the leaks from the so-called "Kubice report". He added after a closed session of the lower house that the wiretappings were legal but they included people who had no connection with the case. Information that leaked from the secret police report shortly before the June general elections pointed to ties between organised crime and the civil service. It also included unfavourable allegations concerning former Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. Mr Paroubek said the leaks harmed his Social Democratic Party in the elections, in which it ended second, trailing the right-of-centre Civic Democrats by three percent.

Bahamas may extradite Kozeny to USA

A court in the Bahamas has confirmed an earlier ruling that the country can extradite Irish financier of Czech extraction Viktor Kozeny to the United States where he is facing corruption charges over his business activities in Azerbaijan. Mr Kozeny and his defence counsels said instantly that they would appeal the verdict. Viktor Kozeny (43) was one of the chief protagonists of the Czechoslovak voucher privatisation in the early 1990s. He later came under serious suspicion of illegal dealings in the Czech Republic. At the U.S. instigation, Mr Kozeny has been in the custody in the Bahamas since last October. Last May, the Czech authorities also asked the Bahamas for Mr Kozeny's extradition, but the request has not yet been passed to court.

President Klaus: Vietnamese president wants to solve readmission treaty

The President of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet has come out in favour of the completion of a readmission treaty between the Czech Republic and Vietnam under which Vietnamese citizens who breach Czech law could be returned back to their home country. Czech President Vaclav Klaus who is on an official visit to Vietnam told reporters after their meeting in Hanoi on Friday that his counterpart had not been informed about the issue at the start of their meeting but still expressed support for it. According to official data some 38,500 Vietnamese live in the Czech Republic, but the real figure is estimated to be twice as high. The two countries have been linked by traditional ties. A large number of Vietnamese studied in socialist Czechoslovakia and learnt Czech. The Czech Republic has in the long term provided development aid to Vietnam. This year it earmarked 21 million crowns for the purpose. Next year the figure will rise to 42 million and in 2008 to 47 million.

Milos Forman says cancellation of opera sets dangerous precedent

Czech film director Milos Forman on Friday criticised the decision taken by a Berlin theatre to cancel a Mozart opera for fear it would lead to unrest in Islamic countries. The director of the cult film "Amadeus" about Mozart told a German daily that the decision set a dangerous precedent concerning freedom of speech. The director of the Deutsche Oper, Kirsten Harms, justified her decision on Tuesday to cancel the production of "Idomeneo" on grounds the opera presented an "incalculable risk for the safety of the public and the staff of the opera." In one of the scenes, the character of Idomeneo carries the heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and Mohamed and places them on four chairs. The cancellation has been heavily criticised by German politicians as well as Muslim associations.

Good night for Czech teams in UEFA Cup action

It was a good night for Czech teams in the UEFA Cup on Thursday, with three of the four clubs in competition going through to the group stage. Mlada Boleslav scored a shock 4-2 win over Olympic Marseille, sending the French team out of the tournament. Liberec qualified after defeating Red Star Belgrade 2-1, while Sparta Prague drew 0-0 with Hearts, winning 2-0 on aggregate to go through. Meanwhile Slavia Prague put up a brave fight against Tottenham Hotspur, eventually losing 1-0.

Weather

The weekend is expected to be sunny to partly cloudy with daytime temperatures reaching highs of around 25 degrees Celsius.