A two-week British-Czech air defence exercise which continued despite the deaths of six British soldiers in a helicopter crash came to an end on Friday. The six burned to death when their Lynx helicopter crashed on September 9 around 30 kilometres west of Brno. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.
A three-day conference of the Prague-based International Committee for Democracy in Cuba got underway at the Czech Senate on Friday. The conference, entitled "For Democracy in Cuba", is being attended by eminent figures such as former Czech president Vaclav Havel, former Solidarity leader and Polish president Lech Walesa and the former presidents of Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay.
The much-respected Zlin-born businessman Tomas Bata is celebrating his 90th birthday at a reception at Prague Castle on Friday evening. Among the guests at the party will be President Vaclav Klaus and his predecessor Vaclav Havel. Mr Bata, the former head of the Bata shoe company, has been living in Canada for 65 years.
On Thursday the president also met all the Czech athletes who won medals at the recent Olympic Games in Athens. Mr Klaus thanked them for representing the country in an exemplary manner, and wished them continued success in the future. The Czech Republic took one gold, three silver and four bronze medals in Athens.
The three parties in the governing coalition have reached agreement on the framework for next year's budget. At a meeting on Thursday morning party leaders agreed to cut the proposed budget deficit from 93 to 84 billion crowns. The original figure was above the limit set by the European Commission in its convergence programme. The cut is expected to hit social benefits.
An Australian bookmaker, reportedly the first taking bets on the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, has said former Czech president Vaclav Havel is its favourite to win. Bookies Centrebet are giving 4-1 odds on Mr Havel being awarded the prestigious prize, though he has often been named as a potential winner in the past.