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Foreign Minister attends funeral of Yasser Arafat

The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, was one of many state leaders and officials who attended the funeral of President Yasser Arafat on Friday morning in Cairo. Earlier, Mr Svoboda said that Mr Arafat had played a major role in the history of Palestine, stressing the Palestinian leader would be greatly missed by his people. Mr Svoboda added that the Nobel Peace Prize winner could be regarded as a controversial figure because of his role in the troubling Middle East conflict.

In the 1970s and 1980s communist Czechoslovakia provided political and financial support to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as well as arms and military training. Mr Arafat visited former Czechoslovakia on several occasions.

Polls open for 2nd round of Senate elections

Polls in the Czech Republic opened on two o'clock Friday for the second week in a row for the 2nd round of Senate elections; in the run-off Czechs will be decide who gets elected to one third of the country's Upper House. The election will determine whether parties that are in the opposition in the Chamber of Deputies, the Civic Democrats and the Communists, can gain a majority in the Senate. Polls will close on Saturday at two in the afternoon.

Sobotka recommends selling Telecom majority stake on capital markets

Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has recommended the government sell the 51.1 majority stake it holds in the country's dominant fixed-line operator Cesky Telecom on the capital markets, rather than holding a new tender to choose a single buyer. The government is to decide the issue next Tuesday. Mr Sobotka outlined his stance in a document sent to the cabinet describing the political and economic transparency - as well as efficiency - of selling on the capitals markets, an option which does not need approval by the European Commission. Opponents of the plan, however, say it is far from certain investors will be interested in buying up such a large amount of Telecom stocks: excessive availability could consequently drive share prices down.

Manitoban could face extradition to Czech Rep

Canadian citizen Earl Jacob Moravek, a resident of the province of Manitoba, could face extradition to the Czech Republic if a Canadian court rules against him in an upcoming extradition hearing. Nine years ago the Canadian national pled guilty to charges of theft in this country, but gave Czech authorities the slip as he was being escorted to a Czech prison to serve a six month sentence. The Czech Republic asked for his extradition after Mr Moravek made his way back to Canada. Presently, a Canadian court of appeals has ruled a hearing on his case be completed, meaning Mr Moravek could eventually be returned to the Czech Republic to serve six months in jail.

Judge stripped of function for delays

A judge in the west Moravian region of Hradec Kralove presiding over numerous business lawsuits and bankruptcy cases, has been stripped of her function by a disciplinary panel. The judge faced complaints over delays in some 50 lawsuits and bankruptcy-related matters. The disciplinary panel's verdict is not yet valid. After partially acknowledging her guilt, the judge asked for a fine as the maximum punishment. Her lawyer appealed immediately, meaning the case will go to the Supreme Court.

Winning start for Czechs in ice hockey's Karjala Cup

The Czech Republic got off to a winning start in ice hockey's Karjala Cup on Thursday, with a 3:0 victory over Finland in Helsinki. It was the Czechs' first game under new trainers Ondrej Weismann and Radim Rulik.

Baros back in action

Milan Baros, the Czech football striker who plays for Liverpool in the English Premiership, will be back in action for his side on Saturday. After missing one game for a pulled leg muscle, Baros will join his team mates against Crystal Palace. Liverpool is currently 8th in the rankings.


Saturday is expected to see light showers with a maximum daytime temperature of just 6 degrees Celsius.