It now appears unlikely that US President Barack Obama will meet his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Prague next week. There had been speculation the two leaders could sign a new treaty on nuclear disarmament in the Czech capital on Friday. However, a White House spokesperson said for that to happen the US would need to have a special team in Europe already, and this is not the case. Mr Obama is due to collect the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo next Thursday and will be in Europe again the following week for the conclusion of a UN climate summit in Copenhagen.
Saturday’s edition of the Czech newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes quoted a source as saying that if the US and Russian presidents do come to Prague, they could announce a joint bid in a tender for the completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant in south Bohemia and the building of other nuclear stations in the future. Both the American firm Westinghouse and Russia’s Atomstroy are reportedly interested in what would be one of the biggest such contracts in Europe.
The Social Democrats would win general elections if they were held now, suggests a new survey by the internet-based polling agency SANEP. Some 26.3 percent of respondents in the poll conducted last week said they would vote for the left-of-centre party. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats would come second with 23.6 percent support, ahead of the new right-of-centre party TOP 09 on 13.9 percent and the Communists with 11.2 percent. The Greens, who elected Ondřej Liška party chairman on Saturday, would not make it back into the lower house, the poll indicates: with less than 3 percent backing they would not reach the necessary 5-percent threshold.
A man is being questioned by police over a hit-and-run collision that led to the death of a pedestrian and left her seven-year-old son in a critical condition. The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in the Moravian town of Opava. The police managed to track down the driver, who is 33, two hours after he fled the scene; they suspect he was under the influence of both alcohol and meta-amphetamine.
The health minister, Dana Jurásková, says her ministry is not to blame for the fact that many Czechs have chosen not to get inoculated against swine flu. Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, she said it was partly the fault of the media and self-styled epidemiologists and vaccinologists. Vaccinations against the H1N1 virus began last Monday but interest has been considerably lower than expected. Many doctors have said they themselves will not get inoculated.
The minister of finance, Eduard Janota, says the Czech Republic needs to adopt progressive taxation of wages. Currently there is a flat 15-percent income tax. Speaking on a TV debate show, Minister Janota said, however, that a progressive tax system would have to be reasonable. He added that introducing a 30-percent tax rate on the highest earners would not necessarily bring billions of crowns into the state coffers.
The Czech men’s tennis team lost 5:0 to Spain in the final of the Davis Cup. in Barcelona. On Friday the Czechs fell 2:0 behind when Tomáš Berdych was beaten by Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer overcame Radek Štěpánek. When Berdych and Štěpánek lost in Saturday’s doubles to Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco the Spaniards opened up an unassailable 3:0 lead in the best of five contest. On Sunday, the Czechs fielded Jan Hájek and Lukáš Dlouhý in place of their top two players and both were defeated, leaving Spain, the defending champions, 5:0 winners.
The Czech footballer Jaroslav Plašil scored the only goal of a game between his club Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, keeping the former at the top of the French league. It was only the midfielder’s second strike for Bordeaux since he joined them in the summer. Plašil’s international team-mate Petr Čech, meanwhile, had to pick the ball out of Chelsea’s net twice in their 2:1 defeat at Manchester City, after previously going for 525 minutes without conceding a goal. And the injury plagued Tomáš Rosický will be out of action for around a month, after suffering a groin strain in Arsenal’s 2:0 victory over Stoke.
A girl of six has died in hospital in Brno, after sustaining serious injuries when the metal construction of a soccer goal fell on her at her school in Dolní Cerekev. The girl died in the early hours of Saturday morning, two days after the incident occurred. Police have begun a criminal investigation into the matter.
Orange, cinnamon and white-coffee coloured Christmas tree decorations are in vogue this year, the country’s biggest producer of painted glass baubles Vánoční ozdoby DUV-družstvo told the Czech News Agency. A colour referred to as Roman gold is also ‘in’ for Christmas 2009, as are combinations of brown and other colours. Around 30 percent of Vánoční ozdoby DUV-družstvo’s sales are connected to what is in fashion in any given year; the rest of its production is in the traditional silver, gold and red.
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Janek Rubeš: The only question I get – and there are thousands of them – is, Can we come to Prague?