Daily news summary News

20-01-2007

Talks to begin on stationing US radar system on Czech territory

Washington has officially requested that talks begin on placing a radar station on Czech territory that will be part of a new US anti-missile defence base. At a special press conference on Saturday, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said the request was made on Friday evening. However, he has not revealed where in Europe the anti-missile base will be stationed.

Social Democrat leader Paroubek in favour of a "political defection" law

Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek would like the country to adopt a law against political "defection". In the northern town of Liberec on Saturday, Mr Paroubek said an example of what he has in mind is legislation from pre-war Czechoslovakia when courts were able to investigate whether a politician joined a different party sincerely or because he was bribed, for example. A politician who left for the latter reason could then have been stripped of his mandate.

Mr Paroubek was reacting to the result of Friday's confidence vote in the lower house. The centre-right coalition won the vote after two Social Democrats left the chamber to give the opposition a majority. Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka, though, have not "defected" as they are still members of the Social Democratic Party.

Thousands still left without electricity, Ruzyne airport back in full operation

Thousands of homes around the country are still without electricity after gale-force winds cut the power supply to some one-million people on Thursday night. Electricity giant CEZ says most reception points are back in operation but it will take longer to repair the damages caused in mountain areas or distant isolated places.

In related news, Prague Ruzyne airport's North 2 terminal, the roof of which was damaged by the wind on Thursday night, has been reopened and the airport is back in full operation.

RFE security guards under investigation

The Office for the Protection of Private Data has begun investigating the activities of security guards at the US funded Radio Free Europe (RFE). The office suspects that the guards have been breaking Czech law by taking photographs and taping people who pass by the station's headquarters in Prague's city centre. Collected information on suspicious personalities is then sent on to the United States, a Czech newspaper recently reported.

Considered a potential target for a terrorist attack, the building's security was stepped up after September 11, 2001.

Neumannova takes second place in 15km mass start freestyle cross-country race in Russia

Czech Olympic champion Katerina Neumannova came in second in the 15km mass start freestyle cross-country race in Rybinsk, Russia, on Saturday. Neumannova crossed the finish line in just over 39 minutes 20 seconds, which was 1.4 seconds behind winner Riitta Liisa Roponen of Finland. Only 28 athletes took part in the event, as many national teams preferred to save their strengths for the world championships in Sapporo, Japan, which is held in less than a month.

Record temperatures posted around the country

Prague's Clementinum weather station recorded 15.1 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning beating a record from 1918 by four degrees. Record temperatures were also posted in west Bohemia and in the Olomouc region in Moravia.

Weather

Overcast skies and showers are forecast around the country. While we can expect up to 11 degrees Celsius this weekend, the start of the week will see temperatures fall to reach lows of -3 degrees Celsius.

Meteorologists have warned that strong winds will continue, especially in the Krkonose mountain region, and a danger warning will remain in effect until 10 pm on Sunday.

20-01-2007