The former Czech president and leader of the country's 1989 Velvet Revolution Vaclav Havel has urged the Ukrainian opposition to keep up their protests against a disputed presidential election. "All respected domestic and international organizations agree that your demands are justified," Mr. Havel wrote in an open letter from Taipei, in which he wished the opposition "strength, perseverance, courage and good decisions".
Meanwhile, some three hundred Ukrainian nationals met outside the Ukrainian embassy in Prague to demonstrate support for the opposition candidate Viktor Jushchcenko and demand a review of the polls or new elections. They handed over a petition to embassy officials and appealed on the Ukrainian embassy staff in Prague to publicly express support for the opposition. Many Ukrainians living in the Czech Republic boarded busses for Kiev at the start of the week in order to join the protests in their homeland.
A Slovak aid worker kidnapped in Ingushetia in June has been released. Miriam Jevikova, who is a student of Prague's Charles University and was working for a Czech humanitarian agency, has been in telephone contact with her family in Slovakia and is currently being debriefed by Russian security services. The kidnappers had demanded a $1 million ransom for the release of Ms Jevikova, but the Slovak foreign minister said on Wednesday the money had not been paid.
The regions should get an additional 28 billion crowns from state coffers next year in line with an amendment to the law passed by the Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday. The amount is only half of what the regional authorities had asked for, but the Lower House turned down a proposal that they should administer money for education themselves. The remaining 28 billion, which is to cover teachers' salaries, will be distributed directly by the government. MPs said they wanted to make sure that the money would not be used for other purposes.
Rivals of postal services operator Ceska posta should have easier access to the market, in line with an amendment to the law on postal services passed by the Lower House of Parliament. To get a license for the provision of postal services one will no longer have to prove expert skills. On the other hand, Ceska posta should have a clearer monopoly on the delivery of direct mail. The amendment aligns Czech legislation with EU directives.
Sparta Prague football club were beaten 1:0 at home by Fenerbahce of Turkey on Tuesday night. Sparta performed poorly, and the only goal of the game was headed into his own net by Radoslav Kovac. The result means they will come last in their European Champions League group - a win over Fenerbahce would have given Sparta a chance to take third spot and a place in the UEFA Cup.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between minus one and plus three degrees Celsius.
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