• 07/12/2003

    A 21-year-old man burned himself to death in the north Moravian town of Frydek-Mistek on Friday evening. The man, said to have been a drug addict, doused himself in flammable liquid and set it alight. He died before doctors managed to reach the scene. It was the 17th case of suicide, or attempted suicide, by burning in the Czech Republic since the beginning of March.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 07/12/2003

    More than a dozen people were injured when a local passenger train collided with a truck at Rokytnice in the Orlicke Mountains, east Bohemia on Saturday. The truck driver was flown to hospital in Hradec Kralove with serious head injuries. The train was derailed in the accident, which occurred at an unmarked crossing between two towns in the mountains.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 07/12/2003

    The pilot of an ultra-light plane died in a crash near the north-west Bohemian town of Louny on Friday. The man's daughter had been a passenger in the plane and escaped with light injuries. The cause of the crash is now being investigated.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 07/12/2003

    The Czech Republic's volleyball team have been beaten 3:0 by Brazil in the World League semi-finals in Madrid. Though they were clearly outplayed by Brazil on Saturday, the fact the Czechs got so far in the competition is regarded as a great success. They play Italy for third place on Sunday.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 07/10/2003

    The leader of Britain's opposition Conservatives has unveiled his party's vision of Europe during a visit to Prague. Conservative leader Ian Duncan Smith signed a declaration in the Czech capital on Thursday calling for the strengthening of national democracies to resist the formation of what he called a European superstate. Mr Duncan Smith, speaking to reporters after meeting President Vaclav Klaus, said his party supported European integration, but opposed unification and excessive bureaucracy. The declaration was also signed by the party Mr Klaus led until last year - the opposition Civic Democrats. The Czech Republic will be one of 10 new countries to join the EU next year.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 07/08/2003

    The Information Technology Ministry has released the first stamp bearing the portrait of President Vaclav Klaus, who was elected in February this year. The stamp will be available in post offices as of July 30 and will cost six crowns 40 hellers. The authors of the green, orange and pink-purple stamp are painter Oldrich Kulhanek and graphic designer and engraver Milos Ondracek.

  • 07/07/2003

    The Czech government has approved a series of proposed tax amendments within its budget reform plan. This includes a gradual corporate tax reduction from the present 31 percent to 24 percent in 2006. The medium-term reform plan aims to cut the public finance deficit to four percent of GDP by 2006 and envisages sweeping changes in the pension and social systems, tax adjustments and a reduction of 30,000 posts in state administration. The government has stuck firmly to its outlined goals, in spite of widespread trade union protests, and the proposed reform is to be presented to Parliament later this month.

  • 07/07/2003

    The 38th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which opened last weekend, is hosting film stars, film directors and cinema-goers from around the world. Among the VIPs present are: British film director Steven Frears, American actor Morgan Freeman and Canadian actress Deborah Kary Unger. On Monday visitors to the festival could take their pick from 63 screenings, among them the Norwegian film Buddy directed by Morten Tyldum, and the American film The Cooler directed by Wyan Kramer, both serious contestants for the Crystal Globe award. The organizers report record attendance. Over 40,000 tickets have been sold in the first three days of the festival, alone.

  • 07/06/2003

    The 38th Karlovy International Film Festival got underway over the weekend, welcoming visitors and film stars from around the world, among them British director Stephen Frears, American actor Morgan Freeman, and Canadian actress Deborah Kary Unger. Czech notables at the festival included Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and Culture Minister Pavel Dostal, who applauded 10 years of festival stewardship by Czech producers Jiri Bartoska and Eva Zaoralova. Two awards for lifetime contribution to cinematography have already been given. The recipients: Stephen Frears, the director of such renowned films as The Grifters and Dangerous Liasons, and Jiri Menzel, the Czech director who won an Oscar in 1968 for his film Closely-Watched Trains.

    Author: Dita Asiedu
  • 07/06/2003

    The Vatican is expecting an official statement from the Czech government on how it sees future relations between the Holy See and the Czech Republic, the spokesman for the Czech Bishops' Conference Daniel Herman said. In May, the lower house of Parliament failed to ratify an already signed agreement on bilateral relations, due to a large majority of votes against the document from the Social Democrats as well as the opposition Communists and Civic Democrats. The Vatican has officially voiced surprise at the rejection of the long-prepared document. But Czech deputies point out the agreement does not resolve controversial issues such as property restitutions and the funding of churches. According to deputy Prime Minister Petr Mares, the government will try to persuade the Chamber of Deputies to approve the agreement between the Czech Republic and the Vatican. With the Czech Republic being one of the last post-communist countries which has not passed an agreement regulating its relations with the Catholic Church, Mr Mares, said it is practically unthinkable not to have relations with the Vatican settled.

    Author: Dita Asiedu

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