News

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Czech Republic pulls out of vote for place on UN Security Council

The Czech Republic withdrew its candidature for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council after failing to secure sufficient backing in a vote on Tuesday. The announcement was made by Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar. The Czech Republic had been in direct competition with Croatia for a two-year stint on the Security Council due to begin in 2009. However, neither country secured a place. In a first round of voting in New York the Czech Republic received 91 out of 186 votes, while Croatia got 95 - both falling short of the necessary two-thirds majority. Czech officials had expected to finish in front of Croatia in the first round, and hoped to advance in further voting.

The Czech Republic has held a non-permanent place on the UN Security Council once - in the period 1994-1995.

Trial of Milada Horakova show trial prosecutor underway

The trial has begun in Prague of a former prosecutor who took part in the 1950s communist show trial of Milada Horakova. Ludmila Brozova-Polednova faces charges of judicial killing for her part in the trial, though she denies any wrongdoing. Now in her 80s, the former prosecutor did not appear in court on Tuesday morning.

Milada Horakova, a lawyer and politician, is the only woman to have been executed during Czechoslovakia's 1950s show trials.

Opposition Social Democrats nearly five points ahead in poll

The opposition Social Democrats would come first if elections were held this month, suggests a poll carried out by the STEM agency. 30.5 percent of respondents in October's poll said they would vote for the Social Democrats, ahead of 25.9 percent for the governing Civic Democrats. The Communist figured third in the poll, with just over 11 percent support.

Czech Republic signs up for EU funding, but no agreement yet in many areas

The Czech Republic has signed on to three of what are called operational programmes with the European Commission. Vladimir Spidla, the Czech European commissioner for social affairs, said the programmes allow the Czech Republic to draw over CZK 100 billion from the EU's 2007-2013 budget, of which CZK 2 billion could arrive this year. The programmes signed on Tuesday are Education for Competitiveness, Prague Adaptability and Human Resources and Employment. However, they are the only operational programmes the country has signed out of a total of 24 - the worst score among all new EU states.

Two-thirds of Czech firms suffer economic crime, survey suggests

Two-thirds of Czech companies have been the victim of crime in the last two years, suggests an international survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Almost 80 Czech companies were included in the study; they lost on average CZK 34 million (around USD 1.7 m), the professional services firm found. Theft, corruption and bribery were the most common forms of crime. However, the percentage of Czech firms who were the victims of crime fell compared to an earlier survey.

Bem to present National Library chief with list of alternative sites for new building

Prague's mayor, Pavel Bem, is set to hold talks next week with Czech National Library director Vlastimil Jezek on the future of a planned new National Library building. The Czech Press Agency reported that Mr Bem is set to present Mr Jezek with a list of alternative sites for a building that was originally planned for Prague's Letna Plain. The mayor says Letna is too near the centre of the city for the brightly coloured modern building, designed by architect Jan Kaplicky.

Civic Democrat Prague councillor Martin Langmayer said if a new location is selected Mr Kaplicky's plan will probably have to be abandoned; moving the project to another site would contravene International Union of Architects guidelines, he said.

Discontinuation of trolleybuses in Prague remembered on 35th anniversary

Tuesday is the 35th anniversary of the last time a trolleybus was seen on the streets of Prague, Lidove noviny reported. The first trolleybus appeared on the streets in 1936, with the late 1940s and 1950s regarded as the vehicle's golden era in the city. Prague's trolleybus network was at its most extensive in 1959, when nearly 200 vehicles covered over 60 km.

Czech footballers in Germany ahead of Euro 2008 qualifier

The Czech national football team have travelled to Munich ahead of a Euro 2008 qualifier against Germany. It is not clear whether captain Tomas Rosicky will play in the game, while Marek Jankulovksi, Milan Baros and Jan Polak are all suspended. Though the Germans have already qualified for next year's European Championship, the team's manager says are still determined to win. If the Czechs win they qualify, though stalemate on Wednesday could be enough to put them through.

Weather

It should get cooler over the next few days, with temperatures dropping to a maximum of 8 degrees Celsius at the end of the week. Forecasters say we can expect sunny spells with rain in places.