The Czech prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, is to cut short a visit to Japan
in order to meet the president of China, Hu Jintao. Mr Paroubek had been
due to leave Japan for China on Sunday but will now set off a day earlier,
after a meeting with the Chinese leader was organised at the last minute.
The Czech prime minister said it would be mistake not to take the
opportunity to meet Hu Jintao, who he described as the second most
powerful man in the world.
While in Japan Mr Paroubek has met Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Emperor Akihito; on Friday he took part in Czech national day at the World Expo, which is being held in the city of Aichi.
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night has been premiered at the annual Shakespeare festival at Prague Castle. Other plays being performed at the outdoor theatre include Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. The festival, which usually sells out, travels on to Brno and the Slovak capital Bratislava later in the summer.
The lower house has rejected a proposal to end free flights for MPs within the Czech Republic. The bill, which would also have seen a reduction in expenses on foreign trips, was proposed by Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek. Social Democrat MP Petr Sulak was one of those who voted down the proposal; he described it as populism.
Between 30 and 35 percent of music compact discs sold in the Czech Republic are illegal pirate copies, a spokesperson for the Czech branch of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said on Friday, as the organisation released an international report on the counterfeiting of music.
The Czech Statistics Office has released new statistics which show that the number of divorces in the Czech Republic has increased by a third over the 15 years since the fall of communism. According to statistics, marriages in the Czech Republic most often break up between their third and sixth year. Statisticians predict the Czech Republic's divorce rate should stabilise this year at just below 50 percent. In the first three months of 2005 almost 5,500 couples were married in the Czech Republic which is by 250 fewer than in the same period of last year.
A faction within the ruling Social Democrats, called the Platform for the Renaissance of the Social Democratic Party, has announced its plan to call an extraordinary party conference to deal with personnel changes at the party head, the election manifesto, next year's general election campaign and a change in the party statutes. The faction said on Thursday that the continued chairmanship of Stanislav Gross markedly decreased the party's chance for a good result in next year's elections. A spokesman for the platform said it supports Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, party deputy chairman, who since taking office last month has been able to reverse the plummeting voter support for the party.
A new party, called the Independent Democrats, has been founded in Prague, former Social Democrat MP Jana Volfova announced on Thursday and said its manifesto was put together by MEP Vladimir Zelezny, the former CEO of the successful commercial TV Nova. Mr Zelezny who is not a member of the Independent Democrats said the manifesto will be released in late July or early August after it is approved by the party conference. Mr Zelezny also said the party will mainly focus on the defence of Czech national interests and it will also address EU-related issues.
The Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek who is on an official visit to East Asia, has met Japanese Emperor Akihito in Tokyo. After the meeting on Thursday, Mr Paroubek said they spoke about Prague, culture, music, issues related to global warming and also about the former Czech president Vaclav Havel. Mr Havel was host to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko who visited Prague in July 2002. Prime Minister Paroubek started an eight-day visit to Asia in Tokyo on Wednesday, he is due to visit China next.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) which represents the recording industry worldwide has included the Czech Republic among a group of 31 countries where more counterfeit CDs than original ones are sold. According to the federation the situation in the Czech Republic is getting worse. The IFPI did not disclose the source of its data.
The chief executive of Cesky Telecom, Gabriel Berdar, credited with transforming the company, has been replaced as Telefonica of Spain has acquired the business. An annual meeting of Cesky Telecom shareholders on Thursday replaced Mr Berdar with Jaime Smith Basterra, chief financial officer at Telefonica, as well as nine out of fifteen members on the company's supervisory board. Last week, Telefonica paid 82.6 billion crowns (3.36 billion dollars) for the government's 51.1-percent stake in the Czech Republic's dominant land line operator.
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