News

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Prague may boycott EU-Africa summit due to presence of Mugabe

The Czech Republic is considering boycotting an EU-Africa summit due to the expected presence of the controversial president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, Lidove noviny reported. The United Kingdom is so far the only European Union state which has announced plans to boycott the conference, due to take place in Portugal in December. Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra described Mr Mugabe as a "dictator with a capital D". He said Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek might stay away from the summit, in which case the Czech Republic would only send a low-level delegation.

Part of 7000-year-old statue discovered in south Moravia

Part of a 50-cm high statue believed to be around 7000 years old has been discovered in Masovice, south Moravia, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The ceramic statue features a woman's legs and buttocks and is decorated with yellow painted designs. Archaeologist Vladimir Podborsky of Brno's Masaryk University said no statue of such size and execution had ever been found in Europe or the Far East.

Czech crown reaches new record against US dollar and euro

The Czech currency the crown reached all-time highs against both the United States dollar and the common European currency on Thursday. Following negative news regarding the real-estate market in the US the dollar fell to 19.14 to the crown. The fall in the dollar on world markets reportedly led to greater interest in the currencies of emerging markets - this in turn led to the euro trading at 27.37 Czech crowns, its lowest level ever.

Leak of sensitive information confirmed by secret service head

Classified information leaked from the economic department of the Czech Republic's counter-intelligence, the head of the country's BIS secret service confirmed to a lower house committee on Thursday. There have been calls for BIS chief Jiri Lang to be sacked in connection with the leak, which occurred two years ago and was allegedly covered up by the agency.

Support for President Klaus falls slightly

Support for Czech President Vaclav Klaus has fallen, suggests a poll carried out by the STEM agency. While 73 percent of respondents said they trusted Mr Klaus in June, a poll carried out at the start of this month found that figure had dropped to 65 percent. The most recent survey was carried out shortly after President Klaus made a speech at the United Nations in which he reaffirmed his sceptical views on global warming.

Petition launched in support of Kaplicky National Library design

A group of architects, artists and academics have launched a petition expressing support for a design for a new National Library building by the Czech-born London-based architect Jan Kaplicky. Mr Kaplicky's ultra-modern green and violet design, nicknamed the Blob, has divided opinion. It was due to be built at Prague's Letna Plain, but that plan appears to set to be scuppered by Prague city councillors, who can block the sale of the Letna site.

Sir Nicholas Winton released from Prague hospital

Sir Nicholas Winton returned to the UK from Prague on Thursday after being admitted to hospital during a visit to the Czech capital. The Czech army laid on a special plane to take him to England. Sir Nicholas, who is 98, saved the lives of over 650 mostly Jewish children on the eve of World War II. He came to Prague last week for a conference of Vaclav Havel's Forum 2000; he was taken ill with a fever and acute bronchitis at the weekend.

Prague Airport set for hijack simulation exercise

Prague's Ruzyne airport is to hold exercises next Wednesday in which the hijacking of an aircraft is acted out. The police, soldiers and rescue workers will take part in the manoeuvres. A plane flying to Prague from Munich airport will be "hijacked" by actors playing terrorists. The passengers on the aircraft will all be members of the Czech security services and airport staff.

Pilot successfully lands light plane after wheels fail to work

A light airplane managed to land safely at Karlovy Vary airport on Wednesday, despite the fact that two of its three wheels failed to extend outwards as the plane was making its descent. The pilot managed to land the aircraft on a grassy area beside the runway and was not hurt.

Czechs reach Euro 2008 after 3:0 away win over Germany

The Czech Republic's footballers have qualified for next year's European Championship in Switzerland and Austria. The Czechs are among the first teams to reach Euro 2008, after beating Germany - who had already qualified - 3:0 in Munich on Wednesday night. The goals were scored by Libor Sionko, Marek Matejovsky and Jaroslav Plasil. The Czech Republic reached the semi-finals at the last European Championship in 2004.

Weather

Maximum temperatures of around 8 or 9 degrees Celsius are expected over the next few days. There should be sunny spells with rain or snow showers in places.