The senior party in the ruling coalition government, the Social Democrats, will hold a one-day congress in May at which a new leader will be elected. Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is currently the party's acting leader but the Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek is expected to take up the post to lead the party into the upcoming elections. Results of opinion polls suggest that public support for the Social Democrats is growing steadily. Mr Paroubek is expecting to win over 30-35% of the electorate next year, vowing to step down if he fails.
Czech midfielder Karel Poborsky will finish the season with second
division Ceske Budejovice after Sparta Prague confirmed on Saturday
that he would not return to their squad, Reuters news agency reports.
Sparta kept the registration for 33-year old Poborsky when they kicked
him out of the squad in September for criticising the then coach
Jaroslav Hrebik. The most capped Czech player in history could appear
at next year's World Cup in Germany as a second division player.
Sparta are 11th in the Czech league, 17 points behind leaders Slovan Liberec, and finished bottom of their Champions League group with only two points.
Some 300 people gathered on Prague's Kampa island to call for another investigation into the police break-up of last July's CzechTek techno music festival in west Bohemia. The protesters say not a single police officer has been charged, while 18 partygoers are being prosecuted. Water canon and tear gas were used during the operation, which left several dozen CzechTek visitors and police officers injured.
A Czech missionary, who was taken hostage by rebel groups in Haiti a few days ago, has been released. Roman Musil, is a 32-year old Roman Catholic of the Order of Mary the Immaculate. He has spent four years in the Caribbean state as a humanitarian aid worker. His kidnappers demanded 50,000 US dollars for his release; the Catholic Church has not revealed whether the ransom was paid.
The Czech Republic will face the USA in its first match at next year's World Cup in Germany. Friday's draw for the opening round of the 32 team tournament put the Czechs in the E-Group with the United States, Ghana, and Italy. Following the draw, Czech coach Karel Bruckner said preparation for the matches against the US and Ghana will be tough as he has not seen them in action. The Czechs play against the United States on June 12, Ghana on June 17, and Italy on June 22.
Doctors in the Moravian town of Brno say they have successfully sown back the nose of an 11 year old boy, which was bitten off and then swallowed by a dog. The nose was in the dog's stomach for two hours, before it was retrieved, disinfected, and operated back on in an 11-hour long operation. The boy, who will be released into home care next week will be able to breathe and smell normally, doctors say.
Some fifty extremists gathered in front of the Austrian embassy in Prague on Saturday to call for the release of British historian and Holocaust denier David Irving. A group of ten men and women, among them Nazi concentration camp survivors, protested against the legal extremists' gathering and were escorted away by the police. David Irving, who is barred from entering Germany, Austria, Canada, and Australia, was arrested in Vienna last month on a 1989 warrant.
The Czech economy grew by 4.9 percent in the third quarter of this
year, a slowdown from 5.2 percent in the second quarter, according to
figures released on Friday. That deceleration was due to a decline in
agriculture, while foreign trade has remained the driving force of
In spite of the slowdown, the Czech economy has remained the second-fastest growing in central Europe, after Slovakia, and this year's growth in gross domestic product is set to be the fastest since 1995.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has said he hopes the progress made by
China in many spheres over the last 25 years will continue in other areas
such as democracy. During talks with the country's prime minister, Wen
Jiabao, in Prague on Friday, Mr Klaus also highlighted problems
experienced by some Czech companies doing business in China.
As the two men met the courtyard at Prague Castle was filled with supporters of China's Communist government waving red flags, while a group of members of the Falun Gong movement protested against Mr Wen's visit.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Czech Senate, Premysl Sobotka, said a trade agreement signed on Wednesday by Mr Wen and his Czech counterpart, Jiri Paroubek, was more advantageous to China and should be amended.
The Czech auto maker Skoda has withdrawn its team from the World Rally Championships. However, Skoda will provide vehicles for the Czech team of Jan Kopecky and Austria's Red Bull Skoda team for the 2006 championships. Skoda, owned by Volkswagen, scaled back its operations during the 2005 season and finished sixth in this year's competition.