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.
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.
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.
Sparta Prague lost their first game in this season's Champions League away to Fenerbahce on Wednesday night. Sparta, who were without experienced midfielder Karel Poborsky, were beaten 1:0 by the Turkish club. Elsewhere in the competition, Pavel Nedved scored for Juventus before leaving the field injured, and Milan Baros got a goal for his club Liverpool.
Four more Iraqi children with serious heart defects are to arrive in Prague to undergo operations at the city's Bulovka teaching hospital next week. The children have been selected by Czech doctors working at a British field hospital in Basra. Some 20 Iraqi children have already undergone heart surgery in the Czech capital.
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