News

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Schwarzenberg: Czechs will not be intimidated by Russia over US bases

The Czech Republic will not be intimidated by Russia over plans to locate part of a US missile defence system on its territory, the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, said in Warsaw on Tuesday. He said Moscow's attempts to "blackmail" the Czech Republic would only make Czechs more determined to defend themselves.

On Monday, a senior military official in Moscow said if US bases were built in the Czech Republic and Poland, the Russian army would aim missiles at them. Under the American plan, Poland would host interceptor missiles, while the Czech Republic would be home to a radar base.

Romany women's group calls for compensation over forced sterilisations

A Romany women's working group wants a fund established to compensate women sterilised without their consent. The group, part of the government's council for Romany affairs, is also calling for an apology, the council's head Czeslaw Walek said on Tuesday. A document prepared by the group says financial compensation should also go to women in cases which exceed the statue of limitations. The Ombudsman had previously called for damages to be paid in cases dating back as far as 1971.

Budvar brewer could be sold off to pay for roads

The Budejovicky Budvar brewery could be privatised to finance planned road construction and maintenance, Hospodarske noviny reported. Trade Minister Martin Riman told the daily the sell-off could raise up to 30 billion CZK (1.4 billion USD). But Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovic said the privatisation of Budvar was not currently on the agenda; he said the company's legal dispute with Anheuser-Busch over the Budweiser brand name would have to be taken into account.

Cardinal rejects joint administration of St. Vitus Cathedral

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has rejected a suggestion that the Roman Catholic Church and the state jointly administer Prague's St. Vitus Cathedral. A ruling under which the state was ordered to hand the cathedral over to the Church was overturned by the Supreme Court last week, though the dispute is set to go on. The head of the government's Legislative Council, Cyril Svoboda, put forward the idea of joint administration while the dispute continues. But Cardinal Vlk said the most important thing was to resolve the issue.

EC to refuse Czech request for emissions permits as unjustified

The European Commission is planning to refuse a Czech request for emissions permits for the years 2008 to 2012, Lidove noviny reported. The paper said Brussels does not like the fact that the Czech government has asked for a greater volume of tolerated carbon dioxide emissions than Czech factories have to date released into the atmosphere. A Commission official said the Czech request was unjustified and would have to be reduced.

Czech TV Council members to discuss case of former People's Militia man

All 15 members of the Czech Television Council have acquired certificates proving they were not members of the pre-1989 People's Militia, a lower house official said. On Wednesday the council will discuss the case of Czech TV programming director Frantisek Lambert, who admits to having been in the People's Militia; members of the communist paramilitary group swore to kill anyone who tried to overthrow the regime. Czech TV director Jiri Janecek is also under pressure for allowing Mr Lambert to hold such a high position.

Mother and son charged with attack on ambulance workers

Police in Ostrava have charged a mother and son with attempted bodily harm after they set upon members of the rescue services. The son, 21, attacked an ambulance worker who attempted to measure the blood pressure of the mother, who was drunk to the point of unconsciousness. The woman, who is 57, joined in the attack when she came to, police said.

Musician to play thank you concert after getting rare instrument back

A Brno musician is planning a special concert as a thank you for the sympathy and support he received after his valuable instrument was stolen. A thief took Jan Skrdlik's rare 1848 cello, but returned it after the musician made a public appeal. Mr Skrdlik is holding the free concert in a Brno church this Saturday - the unknown thief has also been invited.

Perfume sales up as chains spread

Czechs spent almost twenty percent more on perfumes in 2006 than the previous year, according to Hospodarske noviny. It said the increase in sales was largely due to the spread of cosmetics and perfumes chains, which now have almost 100 outlets between them in the Czech Republic. The most popular perfume brands are Dior, Hugo Boss and Donna Karan.

Customs seize peanuts over toxins

Prague customs police seized 19 tonnes of peanuts imported from China due to high levels of carcinogenic toxins, a spokesperson said. The importer will now have to either destroy the nuts or take them to a country outside the European Union.

Weather

It should be partly cloudy over the next few days, with the chance of rain in places. Temperatures are set to reach up to 11 degrees Celsius.