Gross misses EU conference due to illness
The Czech prime minister, Stanislav Gross, has come down with a fever and is unable to attend a European Union summit in Brussels, at which a decision is to be made on whether to allow Turkey to begin accession talks. Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Martin Jahn is attending the conference instead of Mr Gross. But a spokesperson said it was possible the prime minister would be well enough to go to Brussels on Friday.
Human rights organisations criticise Czech arms export
Representatives of a number of human rights organizations working in the Czech Republic have said that the country continues to export arms to countries with bad human rights record. As examples they stated Columbia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Georgia. The deputy Foreign Minister Jan Winkler said that the possibility of potential misuse of arms is always considered before granting an export licence to a company. According to Mr Winkler intelligence services are involved in the screening of both the export companies and the buyers.
Czech experts leaving for Antarctic to build polar station
A fifteen-member team of Czech experts are leaving next week for the Antarctic to start building a polar station on James Ross Island. Building works are expected to take 80 to 90 days. After finishing, the team will close the polar station for the coming Antarctic winter to reopen it again next Christmas when it will welcome the first scientists. Their topics of research will include climate change and the origin of the so-called Antarctic "oases", areas where the glacier had receded and allowed some simple forms of life to inhabit the location.
Bill to punish owners of aggressive dogs rejected
A bill to introduce special punishment for the owners of dogs that attack people has been rejected by the lower house. Under the bill, owners could face up to ten years in prison if their dog killed somebody. There have been several cases of dogs killing and causing serious injury in the Czech Republic in recent years.
Acquittal of Russian skinhead singer overturned
A Czech appeal court has overturned the earlier acquittal of a Russian rock musician charged with spreading racism and possessing neo-Nazi propaganda. Denis Gerasimov of the skinhead group Kolovrat was arrested at Prague airport in February as he was leaving the Czech Republic. In October a Prague district court freed the singer, saying his clothes and CDs could not spread racism or neo-Nazism because they were shut in a suitcase.
Sparta Prague sack manager Straka after poor showing in Champions League
The Czech Republic's biggest football club, Sparta Prague, have sacked manager Frantisek Straka, after Sparta did very poorly in European club competition the Champions League. Straka is being replaced by Jaroslav Hrebik, who led the club in the 2001-2002 season but was dismissed before the end of the season.
We are expecting a cold front to hit the Czech Republic in the coming days which should bring clearer skies and temperatures hovering around 0 degrees Celsius.