Havel signs letter accusing Putin of undermining democracy in Russia

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel is one of 100 influential figures who have signed an open letter calling on European Union and NATO member states to change their approach to Russia, where they say President Vladimir Putin is using the Beslan school massacre as a pretext to undermining democracy in the country. Other signatories include former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt and political scientist Francis Fukuyama.

Defence Ministry criticised for manner of spending NATO funds

The Supreme Audit Office has criticised the manner in which the Defence Ministry spent NATO funds between 1999 and 2003. The Office pointed to inconsistencies, poor accounting and confusion in the Ministry's records in a report released on Wednesday. The Defence Ministry's right hand often did not know what its left hand was doing, said a spokesman for the Supreme Audit Office.

Cage beds can be used in some circumstances, says government

Cage beds may be used in social care institutions in cases where clients threaten their own health or the health of others, according to new rules approved by the government on Wednesday. The use of cage beds would also have to be registered under the regulations, which have yet to be discussed by parliament. Former health minister Josef Kubinyi banned cage beds in July, after criticism by Joanne Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books.

Civic Democrats twice as popular as ruling Social Democrats, suggests poll

The opposition Civic Democrats have twice as much support as the second most popular party, the governing Social Democrats, suggests an opinion poll released on Wednesday. Some 31 percent of voters polled by the CVVM agency in September said they would vote for the Civic Democrats, compared to 15 percent who support the Social Democrats. The Communist Party came third in the poll, with 14 percent of voter support.

Boy dies after being hit by javelin at youth athletics meeting

A 13-year-old boy died on Tuesday, four days after being hit by a javelin at a youth athletics meeting in the north Bohemian town of Liberec. Petr Franta was warming up for a running event when the tragedy occurred. Police are investigating the incident.

Sales of spirits fall after VAT rise

Sales of spirits in the Czech Republic have fallen by 20 to 30 percent this year, the daily Lidove noviny reported on Wednesday. An increase in value added tax is credited with the downturn in sales of hard alcohol.

Thirty-one medals (including 16 gold) for Czech Republic at Paralympics

The Czech team won a total of 31 medals at the Athens Paralympics, which came to an end on Tuesday evening. The Czech Republic took 16 gold medals, eight silver and seven bronze. The overall tally was down on the Sydney Games four years ago, when the country won 43 medals.

Sparta Prague lose to Lyon in second Champions League game this season

Sparta Prague football club were beaten 2:1 at home by Lyon in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, their second defeat in two games in the lucrative competition. Sparta captain Karel Poborsky sustained a calf injury during the match and will miss the Czech Republic's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Romania and Armenia.


Thursday should be a cloudy day, with a maximum temperature of 16 degrees Celsius.