President Vaclav Klaus, who is on a visit to the United States, is going to meet the US Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday to discuss global issues, including the situation in Iraq. On Wednesday, President Klaus gave a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington and in the afternoon met with Senator Richard Lugar for talks about bilateral and international relations.
Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla took part on Thursday in the opening of a summit meeting of countries joined in the Central European Initiative in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The two-day meeting will deal mainly with issues concerning European Union enlargement. The Central European Initiative was founded in 1991 to promote economic and political cooperation in the region between the Adriatic and Baltic seas.
The British Embassy in Prague asked for increased police protection on Thursday following the blasts that wrecked the British consulate and the headquarters of Britain's largest bank, HSBC, in the Turkish capital of Istanbul. The Czech branch of HSBC has not made an official statement regarding toughened security measures.
Pharmacies and outpatient doctors are threatening to stage a protest in January, the head of the Czech Dentists' Association Jiri Pekarek told journalists on Thursday after a meeting of the emergency board of the Outpatient Doctors' Coalition and the Czech Pharmacists' Association. They are demanding a share of the money set aside by the government as financial aid to the health-care system but so far intended to help only hospitals and health insurers. Unless the government presents concrete solutions by mid-December, the organisations' members will close down their surgeries and pharmacies for one hour on January 6th.
Czech police say they confiscated a record number of illegally produced cigarettes on Wednesday. During raids on storehouses in Central and North Bohemia police officers seized more than 9 million cigarettes with suspected forged stamps. Three people were detained and charged with tax evasion and other crimes. If the cigarettes were sold on the market, the Czech state would lose almost 14 million crowns in tax.
The Regional Court in Ostrava has sentenced 19-year-old Vojtech Skrinsky to seven years in prison for blackmailing the government. Last May, Mr Skrinsky threatened to detonate bombs in Prague and Brno unless the government paid him 50 million crowns. The judge presiding over the case said the court had taken into account the social danger of such a case and the preventative effect of the verdict.
Friday is expected to be bright to partly cloudy with daytime temperatures ranging from 3 to 10 degrees Celsius in most parts of the country but in some places reaching highs of up to 15 degrees Celsius.
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