News

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Czech government will give US positive reply to radar base request

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Vondra said in a televised debate on Sunday that the Czech Republic would give a positive reply to the US request to build a radar base on Czech territory. "We will open the way for further talks on the matter - I cannot imagine the government taking a different course of action," Mr. Vondra told viewers. He stressed however that this was merely another step in negotiations and did not legally commit the Czech Republic to hosting the US radar base. That decision would be made by Parliament sometime next year.

Intensive debate on missile shield continues

The US missile defense shield which Washington would like to deploy jointly in the Czech Republic and Poland has become a matter of intensive debate and consultations. Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is to discuss the US missile defense project with NATO and EU officials in Brussels on Monday and the issue also tops the agenda of President Klaus' three week visit to the United States. President Klaus, who leaves for the US on Sunday, is to hold talks with US Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Czech MP wants to hear EU stand on US radar base

The Chairman of Parliament's Committee for European Affairs Ondrej Liska has said he would like to hear a clear stand from the country's EU allies regarding the US missile defense shield. Mr. Liska is a member of the Green Party which has voiced objections to the project on the grounds that it would not address the security needs of the Czech Republic's European allies.

STEM poll shows Czechs opposed to US radar base

The outcome of a poll conducted by the STEM agency indicates that the majority of Czechs are opposed to hosting a US radar base on Czech territory. Seventy percent of respondents said they did not want the US radar base in the Czech Republic, thirty percent said they would agree to it. The poll shows that public interest in the matter is exceptionally high.

Parties selecting candidates for president

Czech political parties are selecting their candidates for president in next year's presidential elections. President Klaus has announced his decision to seek re-election and it is expected that he will get full backing from the centre right Civic Democratic Party. However he could not hope to win without support from the Christian Democratic Party which is divided over the matter. Only some of its members are willing to support Mr. Klaus, others are looking around for a different candidate. The opposition Social Democrats want to pit a female candidate against Vaclav Klaus and the Greens have said they like the idea. If the Social Democrats find a candidate who would win broad support Mr. Klaus' position would be threatened.

Police arrest three men for trying to influence witness in Cunek case

The police have arrested three men on suspicion of having attempted to bribe a key witness in the case of Regional Development Minister Jiri Cunek who is accused of corruption. The key witness is the minister's former secretary Marcela Urbanova, who claims she saw him take a half a million crown bribe while he was still mayor of Vsetin. She told the police that the men in question allegedly approached her with an offer of money if she agreed to change her testimony in favour of her former boss. Jiri Cunek is the first government minister to be prosecuted in office. He refuses to resign despite repeated calls for him to do so.

Menzel's "I Served the King of England" voted film of the year

Jiri Menzel's new film "I served the King of England" received four Czech Lion Awards and was voted film of the year at the prestigious Czech Lion Awards ceremony hosted by the Czech Film and Television Academy on Saturday night. I served the King of England is the director's sixth adaptation of works by Bohumil Hrabal and it recently won the International Federation of Film Critics Award at the Berlinale 2007 Film Festival.

Plans to erect Masaryk statue in Lany

The first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk may soon have an equestrian statue on the premises of Lany Chateau, the presidential residence to which he would often retreat in search of peace and solitude. The director of the T.G. Masaryk Museum has announced his decision to launch a public collection to pay for a bronze statue of Masaryk on horseback, as he is best remembered. The statue would cost close to two million crowns but the museum's director says he is firmly convinced that donations will pour in since Masaryk is indisputably the best-loved and most revered president in the country's history.

Construction workers find hand grenade

Construction workers in Prague's Smichov district dug up a functional hand grenade from World War II on Saturday morning. The police briefly closed off the premises and bomb disposal experts secured the find. A thorough search revealed no other ammunition on the premises.

Weather

The coming days are expected to be partly cloudy with sunny intervals and day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.