President Vaclav Klaus has vetoed a bill on same-sex registered partnerships. The bill was approved, after four failed attempts, by 86 of the 200 deputies in the Lower House of Parliament in December. At a press briefing on Thursday, Mr Klaus stressed that a law that so strongly interferes with human relations ought to be supported by the majority of members of parliament. The President also believes that the bill undermines traditional values and the institution of marriage. His veto can only be overridden if it is supported by at least 101 deputies.
The Green Party has enough voters' support to gain seats in Parliament, the result of an opinion poll suggests. The poll, conducted by the STEM agency, says the party would gain 5.6% of votes if elections were held this month. The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats continue to lead the poll (28.6%), while the Social Democrats, the senior partners in the ruling coalition, remain in second place (24.5%), though with 2.7% less than last month.
Compared to January, the poll also suggests that the Communists (15.3%) have gained over 2 percent more voters. The only other party that would make it into Parliament is the junior ruling coalition Christian Democratic Party (6.4%). The Freedom Union (the third party in the governing coalition) would only gain 0.3% of voters' support.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to the Czech Republic is scheduled for March 1-2. In preparation for his visit, Czech President Vaclav Klaus has already held meetings with Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, Trade and Industry Minister Milan Urban, as well as the Czech Ambassador to Moscow Miroslav Kostelka.
Besides his Czech counterpart, President Putin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and the heads of both houses of Parliament.
A group of activists plan to hold a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in Prague on Friday. The group says it will be protesting, in the name of free speech, against the diplomatic note sent by the Iranian government to the Czech foreign ministry after one of the prophet Mohammed caricatures was re-printed - for illustration purposes - in two Czech newspapers.
Fire brigades in central Bohemia were busy pumping water out of numerous flooded homes on Thursday. With the ground still frozen, some 95 percent of fast-melting snow and rain is not absorbed and stays above ground. Meteorologists warn of worse flooding as they expect temperatures to rise quickly.
The Czech ice hockey team has suffered a surprise defeat at the Winter Olympics in Turin. At its second Group A game, it was beaten 2:3 by Switzerland on Thursday. The Czechs beat Germany 4:1 at the opening game and now face a difficult match against Finland on Saturday.
Czech cross country skier Katerina Neumannova has come fifth in the 10 km classical at the Winter Olympics in Turin. She said afterwards she had run out of energy towards the end of the race, the second of three events she is taking part in. Neumannova took silver in the 15 km pursuit on Sunday, the Czech Republic's only medal so far in Turin.
The next few days will continue to have cloudy skies and occasional rain. It should get a bit warmer, with temperatures reaching up to 7 degrees Celsius.
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