In the News 7.7.08

Condoleezza Rice to visit Prague Tuesday 8.7... Staff

Written by Staff Published on 07.07.2008 18:51:54 (updated on 07.07.2008) Reading time: 3 minutes

Written by Naďa Straková
Aktuálně.cz CzechNews


Prague – A few months after the presidential election Czech lawmakers have finally started to talk about a possible direct vote. Most of the MPs did agree to that after the February electionwas over, as it was conducted in a highly heated-up atmosphere amidst accusations of bribery, bullets in mail, recriminations and even bad language.  

But it was the Green Party that promised at that time that they would make sure next presidentis elected by people, not by lawmakers. And they have kept their promise, indeed.

The Greens have recently presented a draft bill for the direct presidential vote. However, the government has taken a somewhat neutral stand, with some being strictly against it. What a surprise.

At least they promised to draft the bill this summer. The vote immediately provoked a debate if incumbent president Václav Klauswould be allowed to run (the third time). Aktuálně.cz asked some of the MPs and not that surprisingly, most of the found that idea favourable.


Facing the latest round of criticism from media for his recent state-funded trip to a football match abroad, the Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek resorted to what has become his usual tactic: unleashing another attackagainst journalists.

At a government press conference Topolánek lectured the present newsmen about his legal entitlementsas a head of government, insisting he was the one who saves, rather than wastes money on comfort.


This is yet another example of how history can be unfair and merciless with a slight prospect of justice in sight. Taken by the Nazis, then by president Beneš, given to the Soviets. That is the unfortunate fate of one villain Prague 6 where a family of a well-known banker Jiří Popper used to reside in pre-war Czechoslovakia.

Now Lisbeth Popper, his daughter, decided to fight for their house in a law suit. But her “rivals” are of Goliath-size – the Czech and Russian states.


There has been much debate about banning drinking in the streets and parks of Prague. Now some southern Moravian towns have joined the frenzy having followed Prague´s example.

They allege they do not want a drunkard with a bottle of beer in his hands sitting next to a mom with a baby in her hands. Mikulov´s councilor has a “sober” view of the issue when arguing the few homeless enjoying their drink in public will not give a damn about the ban anyway. So what’s the fuss about?


The infamous Kuřim case, that most Czechs follow en masse while shaking their heads in disbelief, will be costly for Czech TV stations. The Board for Radio and Television Broadcast was quick to fine TV stations that showed pictures of the child victims, as it is against Czech law to show facesof any crime victims. Guess who is the winner (of the highest fine) – TV Prima or TV Nova or public service Czech TV? You can see the results here.


Let’s end for today with the issue number one for this week. On Tuesday July 8, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to visit Prague to sign the radar base treaty. However, it appears that there is one major glitch that is going to make the ceremony a little less brilliant. The majority of MPs neededfor the radar base is not secured yet – at this moment it is only 97 MPs who would support the radar base on Czech soil; the rest takes various stands. So it is rather a quaint situation – we will have an agreement for something that has an uncertain future.


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