News

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Foreign Ministry to send to five million crowns in aid to Indonesia

The Foreign Ministry has said that it will send humanitarian aid worth up to five million crowns to Indonesia, hit by a massive earthquake on Saturday. Ministry spokesman Vit Kolar said that the decision was taken by Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, adding that a precise sum and form of aid will be chosen on Sunday. Czech ambassador to Indonesia Jaroslav Vesely is assessing damages to areas hit. The earthquake that hit the ancient royal city of Yogyakarta and surroundings on the island of Java on Saturday ranked 6.2 degrees on the Richter scale. According to reports the natural disaster killed more than 3,000 people while thousands more were injured.

Former political prisoners meet at former labour camp site at Jachymov

Former political prisoners jailed by Czechoslovakia's Communist regime in the 1950s, met at the former site of a notorious labour camp at Jachymov, west Bohemia, on Saturday to commemorate the memory of those who suffered and those who died. The 1950s saw the establishment of some 15 forced labour camps in Czechoslovakia that jailed some 100,000 prisoners. The annual event organised by the Confederation of Political Prisoners saw a number of speakers address the current political situation in the Czech Republic - with a number of speakers warning of growing influence of the Communist Party.

Every year, the memorial event is attended by fewer survivors: this year's ceremony was attended by some 400 people.

President's office responds to criticism over EU statements

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has responded to a number of his critics - including the prime minister - in a row over comments the president made recently on a visit to Estonia: Mr Klaus said that he could not envisage a ratification of the EU constitution by the Czech Republic. The president's words drew a sharp response from a number of public figures, with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek indicating that it was the government and not the president that was responsible for foreign policy. On Friday, the president's office responded by saying that the prime minister was stoking the clash to try and draw the head of state into a "pre-election campaign". Czechs go to the polls on June 2nd and 3rd next week.

Police monitor extremist march in Hodonin

Police have been monitoring the activities of around 100 right-wing extremists gathered for a planned march in Hodonin. Mostly members of a single organisation, those present will demonstrate against so-called "positive discrimination". Police have refused to reveal how many officers will monitor the event. But, a spokesman has said there will be enough present for the situation to not get out of hand. A local deputy major had expressed worries that right-wing extremists and opposing anarchists might clash. Originally, members of the right-wing group had planned to demonstrate elsewhere but were not given permission. Their current demonstration has officially been allowed.

Czech tennis player Vaidisova clinches 6th title

Czech up-and-coming women's tennis player Nicole Vaidisova has clinched her 6th career WTA title, the Internationaux Strasbourg Open, a primer for the French Open. The 17-year-old Vaidisova won in straight sets at Strasbourg on Saturday over Chinese opponent Shuai Peng. The score was 7:6 and 6:3.

Czech stars to donate percentage of World Cup earnings to young talent

Czech footballers and the national football association have agreed to channel some of their World Cup earnings into a fund to develop young football talent in the Czech Republic. Around five percent of the national association's and players' earnings from participation in the opening group stage of the tournament will be channelled into the fund. That should amount to around five million crowns - the equivalent of about 225,000 US dollars. In addition, a group of six players, including Pavel Nedved, Karel Poborsky, Petr Cech, Tomas Rosicky, Tomas Galasek and Tomas Ujfalusi have called for their own representative on the board of the new fund. According to the Czech Football association's president they want the chance to "follow the flow of money" and to propose some possibilities for projects in the future.

In the World Cup, which kicks off on June 9th, the Czechs will first face Italy, the United States and Ghana.

Weather

Weekend weather is expected to bring mostly overcast skies and rain with day temperatures hovering between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.