The opposition Civic Democrats are still the most popular party, but the governing Social Democrats are gaining ground, suggests a poll taken this month by the STEM agency. The Civic Democrats enjoy 32 percent voter support, while support for the Social Democrats has risen to 24.5, an increase of three percent on September. The Communists remain in third: 15 percent of those polled said they would vote for the party.
The lower house has voted to halve the current period of ten years that foreigners need to be living in the Czech Republic before they can apply for permanent residence. The bill also proposes that for European Union citizens any document which proves they are from the EU would suffice as identification, doing away with the need to carry a passport or Czech ID card.
Canada is to decide in two years' time whether to lift visa requirements for Czechs, a spokesperson for Prague's Canadian Embassy told the Czech News Agency. The announcement followed a Czech threat to use the EU solidarity pact to ask all EU countries to introduce visas for Canadian citizens. Prague is also seeking an end to visa requirements for Czechs travelling to the United States.
The lower house has voted to make Communist Party MP Pavel Hojda the chairman of a commission to investigate the sale of Czech oil group Unipetrol. The new management of the Polish company which bought Unipetrol says it has uncovered evidence of bribes being given to Czech politicians in connection with the purchase.
Iran has halted the import of Czech goods over the Czech Republic's critical stance towards the country's nuclear programme. Imports from Britain, South Korea and Argentina have been halted by the Iranians for the same reason, according to agency reports.
The police have said fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir is the leader of a six-member crime gang, after arresting five of its members on Tuesday on charges of large-scale money counterfeiting. Speaking from the Seychelles, where he has citizenship, Mr Krejcir said the arrests were part of a campaign against him. In June the businessman escaped police custody in the Czech Republic, where he is also wanted for alleged fraud and planning the murder of a customs officer.
Another plane has left the Czech Republic with aid for earthquake-stricken Pakistan. As well as medicines and other material aid, it is carrying seven fire officers and two doctors; they will join 23 Czech rescue workers already in the country.
Czech Television is planning to start a fourth, sports channel next year, general director Jiri Janecek told the public station's board on Wednesday, the Novinky website reported. The station would run 24 hours a day and feature marginal sports as well as the popular football and ice hockey. Mr Janecek did not give a concrete date for the beginning of broadcasting.
The Communist Party is set to move from its offices in the centre of Prague to the outlying Vysocany district, Pravo reported on Wednesday. The Communists have been located in their current, somewhat run-down offices on "Political Prisoners" Street since 1990.
Sparta Prague were beaten 2:0 at home by England's Arsenal in a Champions League match on Wednesday, with both goals coming from French striker Thierry Henry. With just one point from three games, Sparta look unlikely to proceed to the knock-out stage of the competition.
The next James Bond film, "Casino Royale", will begin shooting in Prague in January, a spokesperson for Prague-based co-producers Stillking Films has confirmed. The city's film studios and surroundings will be used in the six-month shoot, while some scenes will also be filmed in the spa town of Karlovy Vary.
The next few days should see sunny spells with rain in places. Temperatures are expected to reach as high as 18 degrees Celsius.
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