The most popular choice to succeed Vaclav Havel as president is ombudsman Otakar Motejl, according to a survey carried out at the beginning of this month by the CVVM polling agency. Some 45 percent of Czechs would like to see Mr Motejl become president, the poll suggests. Of the official candidates for the post, the most popular is Petr Pithart of the Christian Democrats, with 37 percent support. The former leader of the Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, came third in the poll, with 31 percent. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said that if a bicameral vote in January to elect a president fails, the constitution could be changed to allow for a direct election. President Vaclav Havel's term concludes at the end of next month.
Between August 20 and Thursday of this week, British officials denied some 306 people permission to fly to the UK from Prague airport, the British embassy in Prague said on Friday. The controls were first introduced last summer, in an effort to prevent Czech Romanies from applying for asylum in Britain. This year UK authorities have returned over 250 Czech asylum seekers in specially chartered planes.
Austrian opponents of the Temelin nuclear power station in south Bohemia are planning to stage a "hunger strike" in the new year. The group Stop Temelin announced on Friday that their "protest fast" would begin in the Austrian border town of Freistadt on January 2 and last for several days. Critics of Temelin, which went into operation in October 2000, say it is unsafe.
Police in Cheb in west Bohemia have begun investigating an incident in which a private mobile phone text message sent by the former leader of the Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, was made public by the tabloid Blesk. The newspaper published a photo of Mr Klaus's mobile on which he had written a message denigrating the man chosen to succeed him as party leader last weekend, Mirek Topolanek. It is alleged the publication of the photo was an invasion of Mr Klaus's privacy.
The renowned sculptor Pavel Opocensky has been sent to prison for three years for the sexual abuse of underage girls. A Prague court heard that in 1999 Mr Opocensky paid underage girls to strip in his flat and had sex with one of them, who was under the age of 15. The sculptor appealed the verdict, and said he expected to be bullied in prison.
Motorists are being warned to beware of icy conditions on the roads at night, especially in the south and west of the country. During the day on Saturday it will be cloudy with a maximum daytime temperature of seven degrees Celsius.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’