The operators of the website of the Czech presidency of the European Union say over 590,000 people visited it in January, the Czech News Agency reported. The most frequent users of www.eu2009.cz are based in the Czech Republic, with more traffic on the Czech than the English or French language versions. Among those visiting the site are journalists, state employees and students.
Meanwhile, Russia, which is opposed to the radar and a planned missile site in Poland, has again intensified its rhetoric on the subject. A few days ago Moscow indicated it had dropped a threat to place short-range missiles in its Baltic territory of Kaliningrad in response to the US facilities. On Friday, however, the AP news agency reported that Russia said it would place missiles in Kaliningrad if the American project went ahead.
The Karamazov Brothers by Petr Zelenka and Tobruk by Václav Marhoul have both received eight nominations for the Czech Lion film awards. The Country Teacher by Bohdan Sláma picked up seven nominations at an event at Prague’s Lucerna on Friday night. The winners of the leading Czech film awards will be announced on March 7.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, attended a Czech ball in Brussels on Friday evening representing the symbolic launch of Czech cultural events during the country’s presidency of the European Union, the Czech News Agency reported. Speaking at the start of the ball, Mr Topolánek joked that he hoped it would become a tradition, at least until the Czech Republic was expelled from the EU. He said as well as its interests and agenda, the Czech Republic would also like to present its humour and bad habits during its presidency.
Around 1,000 people protested in Prague on Saturday against a planned US radar base. Among those who spoke was Vojtěch Filip, the leader of the Communist Party, which organised the demonstration. Opinion polls have consistently suggested that around two thirds of Czech are opposed to the radar base, which would be built in central Bohemia and be part of a planned American anti-missile shield. Prague and Washington have signed treaties on the radar, though the Czech Parliament has not yet voted on the matter.
Czech Television has chosen the Romany pop group Gipsy.cz to represent the
Czech Republic in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Czech TV
with the idea of a national song contest and itself nominated Gipsy.cz for
the semi-finals of the Eurovision, which is being held in Moscow in May.
Viewers will be able to vote on what song Gipsy.cz performs.
Since the Czech Republic began taking part in Eurovision in 2007 neither of the country’s two entrants – rock band Kabát and pop singer Tereza Kerndlová – made it past the semi-final stage.
The president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has cancelled a visit to Prague scheduled for Monday. A spokesperson for the Czech president, Václav Klaus, said Mr Abbas had to change his plans because of talks in Cairo and the situation in the Middle East. The Palestinian leader had been due to meet Mr Klaus, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and other senior Czech representatives in Prague.
Health officials have confirmed that parts of the country have seen sharp rises in flu, qualifying as an epidemic. Just this week the number of cases has risen by 21 percent. In parts of south Moravia it has been estimated that there are more than 3,000 cases per 100,000 in the population. The current flu has been described as particularly aggressive – leading to sudden high fevers, tiredness and breathing difficulties.
Leaders from the European Parliament and lawmakers from EU countries met in Prague on Friday to discuss approaches to international conflicts, including the situation in the Gaza Strip. The speaker of the Czech lower house Miloslav Vlček stressed that the EU had a good reputation in areas like Gaza, but indicated that it needed to be used more effectively in diplomacy. On Friday he proposed a number of steps concerning the situation in Gaza, appealing for Israel to stop its blockade and for Palestinian representatives to return to the negotiating table.
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