News

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Topolanek has open mind on method of ratification of EU treaty

The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, says he has an open mind regarding whether the Czech Republic should hold a referendum on the ratification of a new treaty to reform European Union institutions. Mr Topolanek had earlier indicated he was in favour of a parliamentary vote on the matter. Meanwhile, his party the Civic Democrats passed a motion at a conference in Plzen calling on the Czech Constitutional Court to rule on whether the new EU treaty is in line with the Czech constitution.

People in Need allowed to return to Russian Federation after two-year ban

The Czech non-governmental organisation People in Need has received permission to operate in the Russian Federation after a two-year ban. In 2005 the Russian authorities accused the NGO, whose work in the region focused on Chechnya and Ingusetia, of providing financial support for terrorist groups. People in Need's director Simon Panek said it would now carry out projects aimed at rebuilding and development.

New Czech army planes to be named after two WWII heroes

Two Airbus planes bought by the Czech army are to be named after World War II heroes, the Defence Ministry has announced. The aircraft will be named after Josef Ocelka, who flew in Britain's RAF, and Karel Janousek, who fought in the resistance in the two world wars and set up a Czechoslovak unit in the RAF during the second. President Vaclav Klaus is set to take part in the official launch of the Airbus A 319 CJ planes at Prague's Kbely military airport next Friday.

Neo-Nazi challenging ban on march through Prague's Jewish quarter

A known neo-Nazi is taking Prague Town Hall to court after it banned a far-right group from marching through the city's Jewish quarter. The demonstration was to have taken place on the anniversary of the notorious Kristallnacht Nazi pogrom. Erik Sedlacek, who first got permission for the march and is now appealing the Town Hall's ban, is known to be associated with the group Narodni odpor (National Resistance).

Bursik: Luzny must prove he is not "Kuchtova in trousers"

The Green Party's Dusan Luzny has promised to make personnel changes at the Education Ministry if he replaces his party colleague Dana Kuchtova as minister. Greens' leader Martin Bursik said after a meeting with Mr Luzny on Friday that the latter would need to persuade Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek that he was not "Kuchtova in trousers". Dana Kuchtova stepped down after coming under pressure for failing to apply correctly for European Union funds. Mr Bursik was criticised by some sections of his party for not standing by her.

Mayors of London and Hiroshima express support for anti-radar campaigners

The mayors of London and Hiroshima have expressed their support for organisations fighting US plans to build a radar base in the Czech Republic. Ken Livingstone sent a letter and Takeshi Araki a video message to an anti-radar conference in Breznice, central Bohemia. Delegates came from 16 European countries for the meeting on Saturday, which was also attended by 86 mayors from around the Czech Republic. The Czech parliament is set to vote on whether to host the base next year.

Hundreds without power due to heavy snow in mountains

Hundreds of families in Jeseniky, north Moravia were left without power on Friday night after heavy snows in the area. Around twenty centimetres of snow fell in Jeseniky and some other mountain areas.

Hit film starring Czech musician gets Czech premiere

The hit independent film Once received its Czech premiere on Saturday evening. The Irish picture features Czech musician Marketa Irglova as an eastern European immigrant in Dublin. The 19-year-old also composed and performed the film's music with the Irish singer Glen Hansard of the group The Frames.

Gwen Stefani ending tour with Prague show

The American singer Gwen Stefani is performing at Prague's Sazka Arena on Saturday night, the last concert of her The Sweet Escape tour. She appeared in the Czech capital ten years ago while she was still a member of the group No Doubt. Stefani is being supported by the Brazilian group Cansei de Ser Sexy.

Vaidisova beaten in semi-final of Zurich Open

The Czech tennis star Nicole Vaidisova has been knocked out in the semi-finals of the Zurich Open. The 19-year-old was beaten 3-6 6-3 7-5 by world number one Justine Henin. It was Vaidisova's first semi-finals appearance since this year's Australian Open.

Weather

It should gradually get a little warmer in the coming days, with temperatures of up to 12 degrees Celsius expected. There will be bright spells with rain or snow in places.