Deal on radar base very close, says US official
A senior United States official says a deal with the Czech Republic on the building of a US radar base in central Bohemia is very close to completion. Assistant Secretary of State John Rood said in Washington that it could be agreed in the next few days. His statements echo those of the Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, who said it seemed the last remaining points of contention in the bilateral deal had been ironed out and all that remained was to arrange a signing ceremony. Mr Rood said he hoped the US would find wider support for its global anti missile defence shield at a NATO summit in Bucharest later this week.
The main Czech negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Tomáš Pojar, said agreement between the Czech Republic and the US would likely be reached either before or during the NATO summit.
The proposed radar in the Czech Republic would be linked to a missile base in neighbouring Poland. The Czech Parliament has yet to vote on the matter.
Chamber takes first step towards Lisbon Treaty ratification
The Chamber of Deputies has supported ratification of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty in the first reading. The treaty replaces a failed EU constitution and will come into effect during the Czech Republic’s presidency of the bloc in the first half of 2008, if all 27 member states ratify it by the end of the year. However, the Czech Parliament may not actually vote on ratification for several months, and possibly not until the autumn. Meanwhile, the largest party in the governing coalition the Civic Democrats want the Constitutional Court to rule on whether the treaty is in line with the Czech constitution before a final decision on the matter.
Čunek set for cabinet return on Wednesday
Jiří Čunek is set to return to the Czech cabinet, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has told reporters. President Václav Klaus is expected to reinstate Mr Čunek as deputy prime minister and minister for regional development on Wednesday, nearly five months after he stepped down over an investigation into allegations – since dropped – that he had taken bribes. The Christian Democrats leader has to allow his family finances to be examined by an independent auditor, a condition Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg set for remaining in cabinet with the controversial politician.
Arrests after trouble flares at Prague football derby
Twenty-six arrests were made at a football match between Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague at the city’s Evžen Rosický Stadium on Monday evening. There was fighting both inside and outside the ground, while the game was briefly halted when supporters ripped out and hurled plastic seats. No more derbies will be held at the venue – Slavia are set to open a new stadium at their traditional home in Prague 10 by the end of this season. As for the game itself, it ended 1:1, leaving Slavia two points ahead of Sparta in the race for the Czech league title.
Czechs spend record amount on flights
Czechs spent a record CZK 7.98 billion on air tickets last year, Mladá fronta Dnes reported, quoting figures from the International Air Travel Association. That was 11 percent higher than in 2006. Czech travellers spent another CZK 2 billion on airport charges. Around three quarters of a million flight tickets were bought by Czechs, for whom tickets cost an average of 6 percent less than in 2006.
Baby mix-up couple suing hospital
Two couples who had their babies accidentally swapped at birth are going to file a lawsuit this week against the hospital where the mix-up occurred, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The two families want CZK 12 million between them from the hospital in the Moravian town of Třebíč. The two couples had raised the other’s baby girl for the best part of a year before the mix-up was discovered, making world headlines. One of the couples, Jan and Jaroslava Čermák, had another baby girl last week.
Two Morava planes head for North Pole to mark 50th anniversary of launch
Two Czechoslovak L-200 Morava planes left for the North Pole on Tuesday, marking the 50th anniversary of the plane’s launch. The L-200 Morava was one of the few light aircrafts to be exported from behind the Iron Curtain in the communist era. The North Pole Expedition 2008 is also intended to mark 90 years of Czech aviation.
Skinned dog found hanging in cottage of butcher
Police in Lukov, south Moravia are investigating a case in a dog was found dead, skinned and hanging from a beam in the cottage of a butcher. The newspaper Právo reported that the butcher was preparing the dog to be eaten. The dog’s elderly owner said he thought his dog it simply become lost. The butcher, who was drunk, admitted to the killing.
Controversial Czech footballer David Jarolím considers leaving German league
The Czech football player David Jarolím says he is considering leaving the Bundesliga because he believes there is a campaign against him. The Hamburg midfielder has a reputation in Germany for diving and received a red card in a game against Bielefeld for grabbing an opponent by the genitals. But Jarolím denied the sending off was behind his thoughts of leaving the Bundesliga, saying he no longer enjoyed football in Germany.
Štěpánek knocked out of Miami open by Blake
The Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek has been knocked out in the fourth round of the Miami Open. Štěpánek was beaten 6-3 6-4 by James Blake of the USA in the Masters Series tournament.
After a few mild days it will again get colder, with temperatures set to reach up to 9 degrees Celsius. It will be partly cloudy with rain in places.