News

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US unveils plan to overcome Russian hostility to its European anti-missile shield.

The US has unveiled a plan to overcome Russian hostility to its European anti-missile shield. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is in Europe to drum up support for Washington's plan to deploy parts of a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland said at a press briefing in Prague on Tuesday that Washington might allow a Russian presence at the Czech radar facility and the interceptor missile site in Poland. Mr. Gates who has recently held talks in Moscow said the United States might delay the activation of its missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland if Russia agreed to cooperate. Prague and Warsaw are expected to come to a decision on the matter next year.

Talks on radar likely to last several more months

In a related development, Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar said on Tuesday that he expected talks on the radar between Prague and Washington to last for several more months. Mr. Pojar said that while the Czech side had no interest in artificially prolonging the negotiations the small print was important not least because it would be crucial in obtaining Parliament's approval for the project.

Lower house approves basic parameters of 2008 budget

The lower house on Tuesday approved the 2008 state budget in its first reading. The proposed budget envisages a deficit of 70.8 billion crowns (3.68 billion dollars) or 2.95 percent of total economic output. The 2008 deficit is below the 3.0 percent of gross domestic product ceiling required for adoption of the single European currency, although Prague has not yet set a target date for the switch from the crown to the euro. Lower house committees can now delve into the finer details of the budget, with a second and final, third, reading scheduled for early December.

Planned neo-Nazi march may take place

The Prague Municipal Court has struck down a city hall ban on a planned neo-Nazi march through the city's historic Jewish quarter. The march has been set to take place on November 10th, the anniversary of Kristallnacht - a notorious Nazi pogrom against Jews in Germany in 1938. It is the second time the court has ruled in the favour of the right-wing extremists, making it likely the march will now take place. In its ruling the court cited serious procedural errors on the part of the city in its attempt to ban the planned event. According to reports, both sides in the case will receive written statements from the court on Wednesday. Prague City Hall has said it is not giving up the fight and will take further steps to prevent the march taking place.

Czech national deported from Cuba

A Czech national has been deported from Cuba for taking part in a conference organized by Cuban dissidents. According to the Spanish news agency EFE -two Europeans - a Czech and a Slovak - who participated in a conference on free and fair elections on the island were arrested in Santa Clara on Sunday morning and shortly after put on a plane to Paris. The Czech Embassy in Havana said it had learnt about the incident from dissident sources but had received no official information.

Czech holiday makers stranded in Egypt come home

Clients of the travel agency Sunny Days who failed to return home from a holiday in Egypt on Sunday because of a plane defect were brought home on a charter flight early on Tuesday. Close to 180 holiday makers were stuck at Hurghada Airport for close to 48 hours after the Egyptian air company Coral Blue cancelled their flight, citing an engine defect. Many of them have said they are prepared to file complaints because they received little or no help from either the airline of the Sunny Days travel agency.

Dagmar Havlova is to star in a new film

Dagmar Havlova, wife of the former Czech president Vaclav Havel, is to play the lead role in a film directed by Zdenek Zelenka. Mrs. Havlova who was a prominent film and stage actress before she married the former president has already made a successful theatre come-back appearing in a comedy called Park Your Car in Harvard Yard. Her new role in film is based on the real life story of a mother who lost her son in a tragic accident.

Weather

The next few days should bring overcast skies and rain in places though we can expect a slight warming with day temperatures between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius. It may continue to snow in the higher altitudes and drivers have been warned not to head for the mountains without winter tires. Night temperatures are expected to remain slightly above zero.