News

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Israeli cabinet member refuses to use Skoda

The Israeli cabinet member in charge of religious affairs, Yitzhak Cohen, has said he will boycott his country's deal with the biggest Czech car manufacturer Skoda Auto, which is owned by German Volkswagen. Along with Audi, Skoda won a tender to provide vehicles for the Israeli government. Mr Cohen said he will not accept cars connected to a German concern. The Prague Jewish Community has responded by saying the division of products according to country of origin is inappropriate in today's world. Israel's official boycott of German products ended in the late 1960s.

Czech government to nominate Vicenova as new EU ambassador

The Czech government is considering nominating former agriculture minister Milena Vicenova to the post of Czech ambassador to the EU. The current ambassador Jan Kohout is to be replaced by the end of the year, although his official term expires only in May 2008. The government says a new ambassador needs more time to prepare for the Czech EU presidency in 2009. The name of the new ambassador will be announced by next week.

Czech and US experts discuss legal framework of US radar base

Talks between Czech and US negotiators regarding the legal framework of a planned US radar base on the Czech territory started in Prague today. The talks are focusing on the legal status of the base and its staff, as well as access by Czechs, the impact on traffic in the radar's surroundings, and the use of weapons. The talks will end on Wednesday but further negotiations will continue in the coming months. According to US experts, the most suitable place for stationing the US radar base, part of a broader missile defence shield, is the village of Misov in the Brdy military zone, some 90 kilometres southwest of Prague.

President Klaus: US radar not a threat to Czech sovereignty

Czech president Vaclav Klaus said at a meeting with university students in Jihlava that if the US radar base and foreign troops were stationed in the Czech Republic, it would not threaten the country's sovereignty. He added that the transfer of certain decision-making powers to Brussels was a bigger loss for the Czech Republic's sovereignty than the presence of foreign soldiers that would be subject to Czech law.

Pithart to announce whether he will run for Czech president

Czech Senate deputy chairman Petr Pithart of the Christian Democrats will announce next week whether he will run for the presidency in 2008. Mr Pithart's possible nomination was discussed along with other names at the Christian Democratic meeting on Monday, but the party failed to reach any agreement. Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Democrat leader Jiri Cunek said talks would continue with leaders of other parties including the Social Democrats on possibly fielding a joint candidate to challenge the current incumbent Vaclav Klaus.

Klaus the face of US media campaign

Czech president Vaclav Klaus has become the face of a US media campaign entitled "Global Warming is No Crisis", questioning the impact of global warming on the Earth. A picture of the Czech head of state will appear in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post next to the picture of the former US vice-president Al Gore. The campaign is organised by the US Heartland Institute, which argues that the debate over global warming has been politicized. It also draws attention to Mr Klaus' speech, which is scheduled to take place in two weeks time at the UN conference on global warming.

Tick-borne Lyme disease on rise in Czech Republic

Number of Czechs who contracted the tick-borne Lyme disease has grown this year, while the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis has decreased, the National Health Institute announced. Between January and September, doctors registered more than 2,000 people infected with tick-borne Lyme disease, which is almost 200 more than in the same period last year. The figures can still increase in the autumn, when a second wave of ticks is expected to arrive.

Engineering unit of CEZ bidding for large project in Vietnam

The engineering company Skoda Praha, a subsidiary of power producer CEZ, is bidding for a CZK 90 billion (4 billion USD) order to build a large coal-fired power station in Vietnam. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is coming to Prague this week to present the details of the project.

Weather

The following days are expected to be overcast with occasional showers, with highest temperatures ranging between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.