US to begin talks on deploying missile system in Poland, Czech Republic

The United States has confirmed it will soon begin formal talks on deploying a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The US embassy in Prague said in a statement on Monday that the United States had contacted the Czech Republic and Poland and would begin negotiations on the possible deployment of US missile defence assets on Czech and Polish territory.

The system, including 10 interceptor missiles and a radar which US officials have said could be split between the Czech Republic and Poland, is aimed at warding off rocket attacks from North Korea or Iran. The Czech Republic and Poland had been identified by the United States as possible hosts for a missile defence base and US defence experts scouted locations for the base in Poland and the Czech Republic throughout last year.

PM, Defence Minister dismiss Russia's fears of US radar site

Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova have dismissed fears expressed by Russia concerning the construction of a US radar site in the Czech Republic. A high-ranking Russian military official said on Monday that US plans to set up an anti-missile system in the Czech Republic were "a clear threat" to Russia.

President to discuss US radar site with officials, state security council

In related news, President Vaclav Klaus is going to take part in Wednesday's meeting of the country's security council which is to assess the United States request for stationing part of its anti-missile shield on Czech territory. On Tuesday, President Klaus is to discuss the matter with Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

Poll: half of Czechs would welcome early elections

A new poll by the Median agency suggests that around half of the Czech population would welcome early elections. Fifty percent of those polled would prefer early elections to be held this spring. Around 75 percent of respondents said they thought the seven-month long political stalemate had harmed the Czech Republic's image abroad and around the same number were of the opinion that the protracted negotiations damaged the economy.

President: EU integration should have strict limits

President Vaclav Klaus has called for an alternative European constitution that would severely limit the bloc's evolution toward closer integration. In Monday's edition of Mlada fronta Dnes, Mr Klaus says the new document should be different from the one rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands. Mr Klaus's comments come only days before a scheduled visit to Prague by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who warned last week of a "historic failure" if the EU did not overcome the current constitutional impasse by 2009.

State to provide financial assistance to people affected by gale

People who have been affected by last week's gale-force wind are entitled to financial assistance from the state. They can receive a one-off contribution of up to 46,890 crowns (around 2,200 USD). Labour and Social Affairs Minister Petr Necas has said his office is ready to provide the money from its budget. It is not yet known how many people would be entitled to the financial aid.

Insurance companies report claims worth 485 million crowns

Following last week's gale, insurance companies in the Czech Republic report 28,000 claims worth around 485 million crowns (23 million USD). According to the Czech association of insurance companies, the damages are expected to increase by hundreds of millions of Crowns. The most common claims concern damaged roofs, fences and cars.

CEZ: damage caused by gale repaired

The Czech energy giant CEZ says it has mended all failures caused by the gale which hit the country at the end of last week. Around a million customers experienced cuts in power supplies due to the gale. CEZ says high winds are still causing damage to electric wires, most recently in the Krkonose mountains and in Central Bohemia.

Lyon sign Baros in Carew swap deal

Czech international forward Milan Baros left Aston Villa for French champions Olympique Lyon on Monday with Norwegian forward John Carew heading in the other direction. The 25-year old Baros signed a three-and-a-half year deal and could now come into the reckoning for Lyon's clash with Bordeaux on Wednesday.

Mazoch still in artificial coma after bad fall

Doctors in Poland are to decide in the coming hours whether to wake Czech ski jumper Jan Mazoch from an artificially induced coma after he crashed during a World Cup event in southern Poland. The 21-year old Mazoch was knocked unconscious when he lost control in the air and landed awkwardly, banging his head on the ground, in the second round of competition on Saturday. Doctors put him into an artificial coma to limit the damage to his brain.


We can expect a drop in temperatures in the coming days, with daytime highs of around three degrees Celsius. Overcast skies have been forecast throughout the country and heavy snowfalls can be expected in the east of the country.