Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to the Czech Republic
is scheduled for March 1-2. In preparation for his visit, Czech
President Vaclav Klaus has already held meetings with Foreign Minister
Cyril Svoboda, Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban, as well as the
Czech Ambassador to Moscow Miroslav Kostelka.
Besides his Czech counterpart, President Putin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and the heads of both houses of Parliament.
The Green Party has enough voters' support to gain seats in Parliament,
the result of an opinion poll suggests. The poll, conducted by the STEM
agency, says the party would gain 5.6% of votes if elections were held
this month. The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats continue to
lead the poll (28.6%), while the Social Democrats, the senior partners
in the ruling coalition, remain in second place (24.5%), though with
2.7% less than last month.
Compared to January, the poll also suggests that the Communists (15.3%) have gained over 2 percent more voters. The only other party that would make it into Parliament is the junior ruling coalition Christian Democratic Party (6.4%). The Freedom Union (the third party in the governing coalition) would only gain 0.3% of voters' support.
Czech cross country skier Katerina Neumannova has come fifth in the 10 km classical at the Winter Olympics in Turin. She said afterwards she had run out of energy towards the end of the race, the second of three events she is taking part in. Neumannova took silver in the 15 km pursuit on Sunday, the Czech Republic's only medal so far in Turin.
A group of activists plan to hold a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in Prague on Friday. The group says it will be protesting, in the name of free speech, against the diplomatic note sent by the Iranian government to the Czech foreign ministry after one of the prophet Mohammed caricatures was re-printed - for illustration purposes - in two Czech newspapers.
President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed a bill on same-sex registered partnerships. The bill was approved, after four failed attempts, by 86 of the 200 deputies in the Lower House of Parliament in December. At a press briefing on Thursday, Mr Klaus stressed that a law that so strongly interferes with human relations ought to be supported by the majority of members of parliament. The President also believes that the bill undermines traditional values and the institution of marriage. His veto can only be overridden if it is supported by at least 101 deputies.
Czech customs officials seized 35 million US dollars in counterfeit banknotes in a container from Vietnam last April, a customs spokesperson said on Wednesday. The Czech National Bank this week said the counterfeit notes were of an extremely poor quality. The consignment was addressed to a Vietnamese citizen - he described it as paper for religious purposes. It has not yet been decided whether the police will investigate the matter.
The government has asked Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda to propose a meeting of European Union foreign ministers to formulate a common position on the controversy surrounding cartoons of Mohammad. The cabinet also expressed solidarity with Denmark, which has come under pressure from some Islamic countries over the caricatures, which first appeared in a Danish newspaper.
The Czech film director Jiri Menzel has announced plans to begin filming an adaptation of Bohumil Hrabal's novel I Served the King of England next month. He has been working on a screenplay for the film for several years. Forty years ago Mr Menzel filmed Hrabal's Closely Observed Trains, for which he won an Academy Award in 1967.
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