News

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Klaus may not sign bill allowing registered gay partnerships

President Vaclav Klaus has indicated that he may not sign into law a bill allowing for registered partnerships for homosexuals. The president has expressed opposition to the law in the past, and told journalists they could expect his decision to follow "quite clear indices". The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday after previously being approved by the lower house.

Paroubek rules out co-operation with Communists, expects minority Social Democrat government

The Social Democrat prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, has again ruled out post-election co-operation with the Communist Party. Speaking at a party policy conference on Saturday, Mr Paroubek said a minority Social Democrat government was the most likely outcome of general elections in June. He said a third of the cabinet in such a scenario would be made up of non-party "experts".

Social Democrats choose orange as colour for elections, Civic Democrats to do likewise

The Social Democrats have, as expected chosen orange as the main colour in their election campaign. Prime Minster Paroubek said the colour was modern and confident. The main opposition party, the Civic Democrats, say they too will use orange.

Civic Democrats bring out ads linking Communists, Social Democrats

The Civic Democrats have launched an advertising campaign linking the Communist Party with the Social Democrats, under the combined acronym KSCSSD. However an advertising company has refused to put the poster up on billboards outside the Social Democrats conference in Prague. The firm Euro AWK said such a campaign harmed the advertising profession.

Czech Republic not to veto EU-wide sales tax

The Czech Republic says it will probably not veto a European Union-wide sales tax, raising chances that a row between some new member states and the older members could be resolved. The Czech Republic, Poland and Cyprus had come out against an agreement that would allow value added tax on some services in several member states to be kept below EU norms. They said the plan, put forward by Austria, discriminated against newcomers, which have cut-off dates to abolish tax breaks and meet higher rates in line with EU requirements.

Condoms no longer produced in Czech Republic

The only Czech condom maker has halted manufacturing. Vulkan Intim Brands, based in north Bohemia, has decided to import and package German-made condoms under the company's traditional Primeros brand name. A spokesperson told Mlada fronta Dnes that German-made condoms were cheaper and of a higher quality.

Czech Damm and partner Paes beaten in Australian Open doubles final

The Czech Republic's Martin Damm and his Indian partner Leander Paes have been beaten in the doubles final at tennis's Australian Open. In a dramatic match in Melbourne on Saturday, they lost to twins Mike and Bob Bryan of the United States in three sets.

Weather

We have been having clear skies here in the Czech Republic, but heavy cloud is expected from the start of next week. However, temperatures should remain below freezing.