The famous Prague Spring classical music festival is due to start on Thursday evening, with a concert at Prague's Obecni Dum hall. The concert celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and to commemorate the event the Czech Philharmonic will play the same three pieces of music that were performed at the inaugural concert in 1946.
A court has ordered the city of Prague to pay more than 110,000 dollars in compensation to a British tourist who was seriously injured when a Christmas tree fell on him in December 2003. Malcolm Tuffin's spine and femur bones were fractured when strong winds brought down the 30-metre tree in a crowded Christmas market on Prague's Old Town Square. Mr Tuffin is now confined to a wheelchair.
President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed the proposed new Labour Code. Mr Klaus said the bill in its current form lacked important reforms and failed to tackle problems facing the modern work environment. The bill was pushed through parliament by the Social Democrats with the help of the opposition Communist Party. Right-wing parties oppose the bill, saying it gives trade unions too much power and threatens business competitiveness.
A Czech journalist faces a prison sentence in neighbouring Slovakia after hiding a mobile phone in the prime minister's office. Slovak officials claim the phone could have been used as a listening device, and have called for the journalist to be prosecuted. Vaclav Nekvapil has admitted attaching the mobile to the underside of the prime minister's desk during a recent open day. But he says he was merely testing the Slovak government's security measures.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, currently on a visit to Prague, has welcomed a decision by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators to restore some humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Mr al-Faisal, speaking to reporters after meeting his Czech counterpart Cyril Svoboda, said he welcomed the move by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia. The Saudi foreign minister is also set to meet President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek.
President Vaclav Klaus has received an honorary doctorate from London's City University. At the ceremony on Wednesday, Mr Klaus said he views this distinction as an appreciation of the Czech Republic as a whole. In a modern world full of e-mail, SMS messaging, and misleading headlines, Mr Klaus says, universities are essential because they offer an environment for constructive criticism and sober and educated debate. During his visit to London, the Czech President also met with the newly elected British Conservative Party leader, David Cameron.
If the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats win the upcoming elections, they will freeze ratification of the European Union constitution and seek a new deal giving Germany less voting power, the party's MEP in Brussels, Jan Zahradil, has told the Reuters news agency. Mr Zahradil, who defines his party's stance as "pro-European, but anti-federalist" and may become the country's foreign minister if his party wins the June 2-3 elections, says Europe needs a more flexible set-up than the draft constitution offers. Only if the Dutch and the French, who voted against the draft constitution, change their mind might there be a vote on the treaty in the Czech Republic, Mr Zahradil believes.
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