A Czech farmers group has called for a ban on the transport of poultry within the European Union. The South Moravian Agrarian Chamber also wants the state to make so-called "intervention purchases" of Czech poultry, and says the importing of cheap poultry into the Czech Republic could pose a health risk. A spokesperson for the ministry of agriculture said its priority was to support sales by reassuring customers that Czech poultry was safe. No cases of bird flu have been recorded in the Czech Republic, but it has been detected in some neighbouring states.
Czech scientists have developed a vaccine which could reduce middle ear infection. Researchers from the University of Defence in Hradec Kralove said the vaccine they tested against middle ear infection reduced cases of illness by about 30 percent in babies who had been vaccinated in the first six months of life. The university has developed the drug for the company GlaxoSmithKline.
Meanwhile, trust in public institutions has increased, suggests a poll carried out by the CVVM agency last month. Three-quarters of respondents said they trusted the president, up five percent on the beginning of the year. Some 44 percent said they had faith in the government, an increase of three percent.
The Czech Olympic Committee is suing three companies for alleged copyright infringement. It says energy drink maker Tecfood broke the law by featuring the Olympic rings on its cans without authorisation. The Czech Olympic Committee is also taking the brewery Litovel to court for breach of copyright, and is planning to sue another brewery, Budejovicky Budvar, in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee.
A dispute has arisen between Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and President Vaclav Klaus over the protocol of a visit to Prague by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Just before Mr Putin arrived this week, Mr Paroubek said cabinet ministers would not sign a treaty with Russia at the president's office at Prague Castle; he insisted that the ceremony take place at the Office of the Government a day later. In the end, however, the prime minister backed down and the signing took place at the Castle. The president's office has accused Mr Paroubek of attempting blackmail, while he said it had behaved incorrectly.
Czech ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr has now notched up 1,400 points in the NHL, the highest number ever for a European player. He made one assist and scored two goals in the New York Rangers 6:1 defeat of Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. Meanwhile, Jagr has questioned the Czech team's preparations for the Turin Winter Olympics; he said insufficient back-up for the players was one reason he had quit international hockey.
Police say they have evidence that a fugitive Czech businessman tried to forge a promissory note issued by the country's ruling Social Democratic Party. Radovan Krejcir escaped to the Seychelles last summer after he was accused of tax evasion and conspiracy to murder. He says the police investigation was initiated by the Social Democratic Party, which owes him 60 million crowns (an estimated 2.5 million US dollars) that it borrowed four years ago to finance its election campaign. The Czech police are now in possession of a fax, which they say was sent by Mr Krejcir to commission someone to forge a promissory note. The document includes instructions on the note's graphic design, colour, and personal information on former Social Democrat leader Stanislav Gross.
The Czech football team drew 2:2 in a friendly match with Turkey in Izmir on Wednesday night. Karel Poborsky and Jiri Stajner scored for the Czech Republic, who appeared to be heading for victory until the Turks scored two goals in the last four minutes. Earlier a team of Czech reserves had been beaten 3:1 by their Turkish counterparts.
Judges at Prague's Municipal Court have asked the Czech Justice Ministry to request the extradition of two Czech nationals, who are currently under investigation for drug smuggling in Turkey. The men have been in detention in Turkey since April 2004 when police at the Greek-Turkish border discovered 26 kilograms of a drug containing heroin in their car. Prague Municipal Court judges say the two men are innocent and were unaware that the drugs were in the car. Evidence presented at a separate trial is reported to prove their theory.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to Prague came to a close on Thursday. Mr Putin held talks with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, and the heads of both houses of Parliament. Oil and gas supplies, foreign investment, and Czech exports to Russia were among the topics discussed. Mr Putin also said Russia bears a "moral responsibility" for the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. At final talks on Thursday, Prime Minister Paroubek deliberately avoided sensitive issues such as the war in Chechnya and democracy in Russia. He says bilateral relations are better than ever before.
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