Daily news summary News

17-02-2006

Presidents Klaus, Kaczynski, discuss alternative document to EU Constitution

Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski meeting in Prague on Friday, discussed the state of the European Union as well as problems surrounding further unification. The two heads of state - known for critical stances towards further integration - said the European Union needed a constitution that gave nation states more power, proposing a new charter should replace the EU Constitution. The original constitution was put on ice last year following negative referenda results in both the Netherlands and France. Both Mr Kaczynski and Mr Klaus are proponents of a more loosely-organised EU. His visit to Prague is the Polish president's first since being elected to office in October last year.

Poultry breeders, producers, fearful poultry prices will be affected in light of bird flu scare

The prices of poultry products in the Czech Republic have fallen slightly following the identification of cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in neighbouring Germany. Poultry farmers and poultry meat producers expressed worries on Friday that dropping rates - while not dramatic yet - could lead to more significant losses in light of the bird flu scare. So far, price differences for wholesalers have not been significant. Experts have estimated that the first case of the bird flu virus is likely to appear in the Czech Republic within the coming weeks. Along with Germany, cases of the H5N1 strain have now been confirmed in countries like Italy, Slovenia, and Hungary.

Freedom Union will not form 'liberal bloc' in 2006 elections

The right-of-centre Freedom Union has announced that it will run solely on its own in national elections later this year, rather than forming a pre-election bloc with other small centre-right parties. There was speculation the party could run on a common platform with non-parliamentary parties including the liberal European Democrats or the Civic Democratic Alliance. In the end, the Freedom Union opted to run separately, its representatives saying they are aiming to put together a candidate list by March. The Freedom Union is acknowledged as being in a difficult position ahead of the elections, with a number of polls suggesting voters support currently falls well below the 5 percent threshold needed to get into Parliament.

Hasek, Elias, out of Winter Olympics

Legendary ice hockey goaltender Domink Hasek and forward Patrik Elias have been confirmed as out of the remainder of the Winter Olympics in Turin. The reason: both players suffered injuries in the Czechs' opening game against Germany earlier this week. Hasek suffered a leg muscle pull, Elias, damage to his ribs. The players have been replaced on the roster by 33-year-old goalie Dusan Salficky, who plays in Russia, and the Buffalo Sabres' forward Ales Kotalik.

Pundits are speculating the loss of Hasek especially could hurt the Czech team, which so far has earned one win and one loss in the Winter Olympics. The team next faces Finland on Saturday.

Weather

Milder weather is expected at the weekend with daytime temperatures on Saturday rising to up to 7 degrees Celsius.

17-02-2006