Putin starts two-day visit to Czech Republic
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Prague for his first official visit to the Czech Republic. During his two-day visit, Mr Putin is expected to discuss energy issues as well as economic, cultural and military cooperation with an emphasis on the war against terrorism. His first engagement on Wednesday was meeting with his Czech counterpart President Vaclav Klaus.
Havel denounces Russian 'return to autocracy', ahead of Putin visit
Just hours ahead of President Putin's arrival, former Czech president Vaclav Havel and several world-renowned statesmen launched an attack on Mr Putin and his policies in a text published in a Czech newspaper. The group, led by Mr Havel and including former UN Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu, sharply accused Mr Putin of "censorship" of information from Chechnya and called for the world to stop "closing its eyes" to atrocities taking place in Chechnya.
Cesky Telecom to merge with mobile operator Eurotel
Czech fixed-line operator Cesky Telecom, whose majority owner is Spanish phone giant Telefonica, has announced that it will merge with its wholly owned mobile-telephone business, Eurotel. The merged company to be named Telefonica O2 faces increased competition on the converging Czech telecoms market. T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom, jousts with Eurotel for the top spot among mobile operators and Vodafone is third, following its acquisition of Oskar Mobile from Canada-based TIW last year.
Poll: Social Democrats' popularity falling, Greens' rising
A poll carried out by the CVVM agency suggests that 23 percent of Czechs would vote for the ruling Social Democrats if elections were held tomorrow, 4 percent less than last month. On the other hand, support for the Green party has increased to 6 percent compared to 2.5 percent in January. The opposition Civic Democrats lead the poll with 28.5 percent of public support. The Communists would get some 11.5 percent and the Christian Democrats are supported by 7.5 percent of voters, according to the poll.
Czech owner of Semtex name targets Madonna over trademark misuse
The Czech company Explosia, which produces the plastic explosive Semtex and owns the rights to the trademark, has said it launched legal action to prevent American pop-star Madonna from misusing its most valued and internationally-recognized asset. The pop singer was revealed to have registered a company in Britain called "Semtex Girls Limited". Production of Semtex began in the 1960s but only became widely known in the 1980s as a favourite tool for terrorists because it was virtually undetectable. Because of the threat of global terrorism, the company has added a substance to make it easily detectable and now makes only small amounts of Semtex for use by the army and a number of Czech companies.
MP Hojdar resigns his post
Parliament deputy for the Social Democratic party Josef Hojdar has announced that he is resigning his post for health reasons. He is to be replaced by Cyril Zapletal, election leader in the Liberec region.
We can expect partly cloudy skies and snow in the next couple of days. Daytime temperatures should range from plus 1 to plus 3 degrees Celsius.