The Czech foreign minister Alexandr Vondra appeared to confirm this week what defence analysts have been speculating upon for some time: if the United States decides to place part of its missile defence system in Europe, the Czech Republic will almost certainly be asked to host a radar and tracking station, not a full-blown missile base. However there are still many hurdles to be overcome before work on such a facility can begin.
US President George W. Bush speaking with President Vaclav Klaus at the
NATO Summit underway in Riga, has reportedly reiterated conviction that
visa requirements for Czechs travelling to the US will eventually be
waived. Speaking to reporters after a brief meeting with his US
counterpart, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said President Bush anticipated
intense debate in Congress, which will have the final word.
While Czech Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra has put two years as an estimate for changes in visa policy, some US officials are being more cautious. The US Ambassador to Prague Richard Graber on Wednesday reacted by suggesting that while two years was perhaps a good estimate, the timeframe couldn't be guaranteed.
Viktor Kozeny, the so-called Pirate of Prague, appeared one step closer to extradition to the United States on Thursday. A court in the Bahamas - Mr Kozeny's adopted home - confirmed June's decision to deport him to the U.S. to face charges of bribing senior government officials in Azerbaijan. However Czech investors allegedly defrauded by Mr Kozeny in the 1990s are still no closer to seeing their money.
The US Embassy in Prague has recommended that all US citizens visiting the Czech capital exercise caution with regards to a possible terrorist threat. The embassy released the statement on Wednesday - ahead of the state holiday - but said it had no specific information about any planned attack. An embassy spokesperson said that the recommendation came in reaction to questions by US citizens following a declaration by the Czech government last weekend stressing Prague was at threat. Special security measures in the city were introduced and remain in effect. The embassy has asked citizens to report anything out of the ordinary to the police.
This week hundreds of thousands of Czech Americans will open envelopes from the Czech Embassy in Washington asking them to join a campaign to abolish US visas for Czech citizens. For years the Czech Republic has striven to be included in the US waiver programme, which would put relations on an equal footing, but so far in vain. Now it is asking Czech ex-pats in the United States to bring the matter to the attention of their congressmen. Jakub Skalinik of the Czech Foreign Ministry explains what the campaign aims to achieve:
Harvard University in Massachusetts is one of the best known universities in the world and attracts the cream of under- and post-graduate students from around the world. The first Czech to graduate from the august institution was Gerhardt Bubnik in 1969.Today, almost forty years later, there are over forty Czech Harvard graduates. They meet in the Harvard Club Prague, which was set up by Mr Bubnik in 1993, attending presentations which are followed by heated discussions.
The US Embassy in Prague has launched a new section on its web site devoted to the American missile defense system and Washington's plans to build a base in Europe. The pages include basic information about the project, answers to frequently asked questions, and statements of US Ambassador to Prague William Cabaniss and other representatives of the administration of President George W. Bush. The webpage is in both Czech and in English.
For some months now there has been speculation about the United States building a new missile base somewhere in Central Europe. Initially analysts tipped Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic as key candidate countries for the base. Hungary now appears to be out of the running and it would seem the chances of a base being built here are increasing - on Sunday the Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, said it was almost certain Prague would play some part in the project. Richard Krpac, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, explains the latest
Czech science - and one scientist in particular - received a great honour last week, when the United States pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences announced a donation to the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences for the establishment of a special research centre bearing the company's name. The California-based biopharmaceutical company will donate 1.1 million dollars a year to the institute for an initial five-year term to fund the centre's operations and ongoing research activities. A part of the amount
A team of U.S. military experts arrives in the Czech Republic next week to examine potential sites for a new missile defence base. The United States is said to be considering either the Czech Republic, Poland or Hungary for the new facility, but a Polish newspaper reports that Washington has already reached agreement with Warsaw. Rob Cameron has the following report.
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