News

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2012 now target date for euro adoption, says Finance Minister Kalousek

The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, has set 2012 as a new target date for the Czech Republic to adopt the euro. Mr Kalousek told Lidove noviny he would submit the plan to the cabinet next month. The previous Czech government last autumn abandoned a long-standing target of 2010. The finance minister said that date was unrealistic, given the country's public finance deficit.

Hundreds demonstrate against building of US radar base

Around 300 people demonstrated in Jince, central Bohemia on Saturday against the construction of a United States radar base. They want the government to reject a US request to build part of its planned global missile defence system on the Brdy military base, around 70 km from Prague. If approved by the Czech parliament the base should go into operation in 2011 and house around 200 military and civilian personnel.

Policeman sacked for selling photo of dead composer

A policeman who has admitted to selling a photograph of the dead body of a popular composer has been kicked out of the force. The officer, who worked at a station on the outskirts of Prague, sold a picture of the corpse of Karel Svoboda to a tabloid newspaper after the latter committed suicide last weekend. Investigators have recommended the former policeman face charges of abuse of office.

Courts ordered to consider cases of children kidnapped by parents more carefully

Czech courts will have to assess cases of children kidnapped by one of their parents more carefully and need not always automatically return children to the country they were born in, according to a landmark verdict by the Supreme Court. The ruling was made following a case in which courts in Prague returned a girl to Germany without thoroughly investigating her living circumstances. The Supreme Court annulled those verdicts and demanded the case be reopened.

Paris conference could help improve Czech understanding of global warming, says delegate

One of the Czech delegates at a major conference on global warming says it could prove important in educating the Czech public on the issue. Speaking after an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting in Paris, former environment minister Bedrich Moltan said its conclusions could lead to a serious revision of the naïve and uneducated views of those who deny man's responsibility for global warming.

On Friday the spokesman of President Vaclav Klaus, Petr Hajek, described those who believe human civilisation is responsible for global warming as naïve. Mr Klaus has also questioned whether people are responsible for climate change.

Environment minister considering tax on carbon dioxide emissions

The environment minister, Martin Bursik, is planning to put forward a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Mr Bursik said the tax, a measure against global warming, could be introduced in 2010. The Green Party boss also said he intended to use European Union environmental funds to replace coal-fuelled boilers in Czech households with cleaner alternatives.

Police close street after man threatens to blow up bar

A Slovak man was arrested after holding two women hostage in a Prague centre bar and threatening to kill them, police said. At 6 am on Saturday the man phoned the emergency services from the bar saying he would blow it up. Police closed off the street before managing to arrest the man after one of the women escaped. A search revealed he did not have any explosives.

Former prime minister says he received bomb threats ahead of January vote

Former prime minister Jiri Paroubek said he received death threats ahead of a vote of confidence in the new Czech government. The Social Democrat leader told the daily Blesk he had received an anonymous warning his flat would be bombed last month.

Christian Democrat leader's alleged misdemeanors target of new billboards

The leader of the Christian Democrats, Jiri Cunek, is ridiculed in new billboards drawing attention to his alleged misdemeanors. The ads feature his photograph and the words "I haven't taken bribes (and I like Gypsies)". Mr Cunek rose to prominence after expelling Romany rent defaulters from a town where he was mayor. He is also under investigation for allegedly taking a bribe from a building company. In the last couple of years several billboards have appeared poking fun at the county's political leaders.

Young Czech speed skater Sablikova tops World Cup podium for first time

The Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova has come first in a World Cup race for the first time in her career. The 19-year-old finished ahead of the pack with a time of 4:03.88 in the three km at the Olympic oval in the Italian city of Turin.

Weather

It should be partly cloudy over the coming days, with rain or snow in places. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 6 degrees Celsius.