News

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Topolanek: EU summit will reach agreement on outlines of new treaty

The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, has said he believes a key European Union summit next week will reach agreement on the outlines of a new treaty on running the 27-member organisation. Speaking after talks near Berlin on Sunday with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Mr Topolanek said Prague would only veto efforts to revive the same constitution French and Dutch voters rejected two years ago.

The Czech prime minister also restated his country's desire to see some powers returned from Brussels to member states. On Thursday the Czech Republic sent a proposal to fellow member states aimed at increasing the powers of national parliaments. However, it stopped short of proposing that national governments be allowed to completely block European legislation.

Czech leaders have consistently expressed reservations about any EU constitution. Prague is also supporting Poland's fight to prevent bigger states losing some voting rights.

Attacking Czechs Austrian national sport, says Czech Foreign Minister

Attacking Czechs is the national sport in Austria, the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, said in an interview in Sunday's edition of Austria's Kurier. Mr Schwarzenberg told the newspaper he had no understanding of Austrian worries about the Czech Temelin nuclear power station, which he said was safer than reactors in Germany. He added that Austrians should reflect on how much of the energy their state imports is produced by nuclear reactors. Minister Schwarzenberg said Austrians and Czechs were in the habit of arguing in the style of close family members, and that attacking Czechs had become the national sport in Austria. Vienna has frequently called for Temelin to be closed down, saying it is unsafe.

Group of artists sabotage Czech TV broadcast

A group of artists infiltrated the broadcasting of Czech Television on Sunday morning, superimposing a nuclear mushroom cloud on live shots of a scenic area in east Bohemia. A spokesperson for Czech TV said the station would take action against the group Ztohoven, who added their own internet address to the doctored images. They managed to sabotage the programme Panorama by tampering with a TV camera at Cerny Dul in the Krkonose Mountains.

Culture minister threatens to quit over budget cut

The minister of culture, Vaclav Jehlicka, has threatened to resign if his ministry does not receive more funding next year. Speaking on a TV debate show, Mr Jehlicka said he did not accept the post in order to become a "minister receiver" and had, on the contrary, promised to increase spending. The proposed state budget has earmarked 6.7 billion crowns for the arts in 2008, around 1.2 billion less than this year.

Czech Republic contributed 50 million CZK to Iraq last year, says ministry

The Czech Republic contributed 50 million CZK (2.3 million USD) towards reconstruction in Iraq last year, the Czech Foreign Ministry said. The projects included the rebuilding of an oil refinery in Basra and providing local people with the technology to produce clean drinking water. On Monday the government will discuss this year's aid for Iraq. Czech soldiers on the ground in the country have trained over 8,000 Iraqi police officers; their main duty at present is guarding an international base in Basra.

Over 100,000 take part in Prague Museum Night

Over 100,000 people visited museums and galleries around Prague on Saturday during an annual event entitled Museum Night. Twenty-one institutions - including the new Museum of Charles Bridge- opened their doors, free of charge, at 7 pm special free buses ferried people between the museums and galleries.

Man makes miraculous recovery after being trapped underwater in car

A 25-year-old man who was submerged underwater in his car for half an hour has regained consciousness, a hospital spokesperson in the north Moravian town of Orlova said. The man was no longer breathing and his heart had stopped beating when he was pulled out of a river nine days ago; rescue workers spent thirty minutes trying to revive him and doctors gave long odds against him regaining consciousness. He is now speaking and says he remembers the accident clearly.

First grass court title for Czech tennis number one Berdych

The leading Czech men's tennis player Tomas Berdych has won his first tournament on grass. The 21-year-old fourth seed beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 7-5 6-4 in the final at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany's Halle on Sunday. It was Berdych's third ATP title.

Weather

It should remain somewhat overcast over the next few days, with temperatures of up to 28 degrees Celsius.