Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is on Monday going to present a report to the cabinet on the Czech Republic's recent failure to win a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The Czech Republic withdrew from the vote after the country's rival for the post Croatia gathered more support. It will occupy the post for two years, starting in 2009. Mr Schwarzenberg said there were several reasons Prague had lost the vote; however, he said, the fact the Czech Republic is to assume the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2009 was not among them.
Household heating costs in the Czech Republic could rise by up to a third next year. A spokesman for the country's heating association, Pavel Kaufmann, said producers were hoping that such a big increase did not occur. In any case prices will rise by at least ten percent. Coal, natural gas and biomass are all now more expensive, while water costs for heat producers have also risen. From January there will be a new environmental tax and a hike in the VAT rate, while emissions permits will also cost more.
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Cech is among 50 players nominated for European Player of the Year. Cech, who is 25 and plays for the English club Chelsea, finished 14th two years ago in the poll organised by the magazine France Football. Two Czechs have won the Ballon d'Or in the past: Josef Masopust in 1962 and Pavel Nedved in 2003.
The majority of people living in Prague like the design of a planned new
National Library building, suggests a poll carried out by the STEM agency.
Sixty percent of the Prague citizens surveyed last week said they liked the
green-and-violet octopus-like design by the world-renowned Czech architect
Jan Kaplicky. However, the building - nicknamed the Blob - will probably
not be built at the original site selected on Prague's Letna Plain, as city
councillors say the modernistic building would be too near the historical
centre of the city. There have been suggestions it could go up elsewhere in
Prague, though there is a good chance Mr Kaplicky's plan will never be
Meanwhile, National Library director Vlastimil Jezek said on Sunday that if the Blob is built it could cost around CZK three billion, rather than the two billion originally envisaged.
A sixteen-year-old girl died when her parachute failed to open during a jump at Erpuzice, west Bohemia on Saturday. A police spokesperson said the teenager had fallen from a height of 600 metres. An investigation is being conducted into her death. Under Czech regulations young people can do parachute jumps from the age of 15, but those under 18 must have the consent of their parents.
Two couples whose babies were mixed up by hospital staff in Trebic have not yet agreed on when they will exchange the infants. The families had planned to begin bringing up their own biological babies from December 9, the children's first birthday. However, after sessions with a new psychologist the couples have decided not to set a concrete date in advance of the swap; it is believed this approach would be less stressful for the two mothers. The case received the attention of the world's media after being uncovered earlier this month.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, says he has an open mind regarding whether the Czech Republic should hold a referendum on the ratification of a new treaty to reform European Union institutions. Mr Topolanek had earlier indicated he was in favour of a parliamentary vote on the matter. Meanwhile, his party the Civic Democrats passed a motion at a conference in Plzen calling on the Czech Constitutional Court to rule on whether the new EU treaty is in line with the Czech constitution.
The American singer Gwen Stefani is performing at Prague's Sazka Arena on Saturday night, the last concert of her The Sweet Escape tour. She appeared in the Czech capital ten years ago while she was still a member of the group No Doubt. Stefani is being supported by the Brazilian group Cansei de Ser Sexy.
The mayors of London and Hiroshima have expressed their support for organisations fighting US plans to build a radar base in the Czech Republic. Ken Livingstone sent a letter and Takeshi Araki a video message to an anti-radar conference in Breznice, central Bohemia. Delegates came from 16 European countries for the meeting on Saturday, which was also attended by 86 mayors from around the Czech Republic. The Czech parliament is set to vote on whether to host the base next year.
Two Airbus planes bought by the Czech army are to be named after World War II heroes, the Defence Ministry has announced. The aircraft will be named after Josef Ocelka, who flew in Britain's RAF, and Karel Janousek, who fought in the resistance in the two world wars and set up a Czechoslovak unit in the RAF during the second. President Vaclav Klaus is set to take part in the official launch of the Airbus A 319 CJ planes at Prague's Kbely military airport next Friday.
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