The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has said he hopes the progress made by
China in many spheres over the last 25 years will continue in other areas
such as democracy. During talks with the country's prime minister, Wen
Jiabao, in Prague on Friday, Mr Klaus also highlighted problems
experienced by some Czech companies doing business in China.
As the two men met the courtyard at Prague Castle was filled with supporters of China's Communist government waving red flags, while a group of members of the Falun Gong movement protested against Mr Wen's visit.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Czech Senate, Premysl Sobotka, said a trade agreement signed on Wednesday by Mr Wen and his Czech counterpart, Jiri Paroubek, was more advantageous to China and should be amended.
The wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney, Heather Mills McCartney, says cats in the Czech Republic are being snared on the streets for their fur and then skinned alive, the Czech Press Agency reported. Speaking at an anti-fur demonstration in Brussels, Ms Mills McCartney said dogs were also being killed for their skins in the Czech Republic. Cat and dog fur was being used to make little figures of pets as well as scarves, stoles and blankets, she said.
The minister of industry and trade, Milan Urban, says a deal on securing a site for carmaker Hyundia in Moravia must be struck very soon. Speaking after talks with a Hyundia representative on Friday, Mr Urban said December 31st was the deadline for finding a site. Three places are in consideration for the car plant, which would provide a major boost for the economy in the region.
Municipal authorities in the town of Trutnov, some 100 kilometres east of Prague, have ruled that an activist who publicly announced the Czech prime minister's mobile phone number -- at a local music festival -- did not commit an offence. After activist Stanislav Penc gave out Jiri Paroubek's number at a concert this autumn, thousands of people sent the Prime Minister phone text messages. Most expressed indignation over police action months earlier to shut down a free music festival known as CzechTek. Activist Stanislav Penc successfully argued that he had not violated anyone's personal privacy. The mobile phone number he publicised was already listed on the official webpage of the Social Democratic Party of which Mr Paroubek is chairman.
The new Skoda Octavia has been named "best import" in Germany's annual "Auto Trophy" poll. The prize is announced by the motoring magazine "Auto Zeitung". This year, more than 90,000 readers of the magazine voted in the poll. Skoda Auto has been part of the Volkswagen Group since 1991. The new Octavia model was named 2005 car of the year in the Czech Republic, where it is manufactured, as well as in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Lithuania, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine, and Great Britain.
The wife of former president Vaclav Havel is being treated for a chronic thyroid gland condition and unspecified heart problems. Dagmar Havlova, aged 52, acknowledged in a statement that she was seeking treatment, after a series of reports on her health appeared in the Czech tabloid Blesk. She said doctors had recommended extensive rest and asked that the media respect her privacy and allow her to recover in peace. A film and theatre actress before she became First Lady, Dagmar Havlova had announced plans to return to the stage in March. Friends of the family were quoted as saying that was still her intention.
The lower house of Parliament has voted to extend until the end of 2006 ongoing Czech military and peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. Deputies also agreed to more than double to 150 the number of Czech soldiers and personnel dispatched to Afghanistan, where a Czech contingent will take control of the Afghan capital's airport. In Iraq, the Czechs will maintain about 100 experts either training Iraqi security forces or working at a British military hospital. The main opposition Civic Democratic Party agreed to the extensions but said they would like the Czech Republic to participate in fewer missions, in order to make better use of "limited resources".
An official from the BBC's Czech language service - which has been slated for closure by London along with ten other foreign language services - has said the radio station's management hopes to form a joint venture with a local partner and continue broadcasting. Michal Rucicka said in an interview that the new-old service would be carried by BBC Worldwide, a commercial branch of Britain's public broadcaster. The BBC Czech service has an audience share of less than 1 per cent, but is popular with decision makers. The BBC is to launch an Arabic-language TV station and is closing down Czech and other foreign-language services to help fund that venture.