Czech citizens should decide on the European Constitution in a referendum in June 2006, to be held simultaneously with the next regular general elections, the Prime Minister and Social Democrat acting chairman Stanislav Gross said on Monday. Mr Gross said he expected the ratification procedure to be complicated, but he said he believed that Czech voters would have enough information to approve the constitution in the end.
Another suspected case of BSE or mad cow disease has been reported at a farm in Hrejkovice, South Bohemia. The animal suspected of suffering from the condition is an eight-year-old cow. The State Veterinary Office says the results of the control tests will be available later this week. If confirmed, it would be the Czech Republic's eleventh case of the disease since 2001.
Czech elementary school pupils should be taught not one but two foreign languages, the Education Minister Petra Buzkova told Monday's edition of the newspaper Pravo. Under a new education bill to be discussed by parliament in the autumn, children would begin learning a first foreign language at 9, a year earlier than now, and a second language at 14 at the latest.
A Prague court has confirmed a three-year prison sentence for two former members of the communist political police, Jiri Simak and Zbynek Dudek. The two men were found guilty of torturing political prisoners in 1981 during a secret operation that was devised to force members of the anti-communist opposition to leave Czechoslovakia. The two men had already been sentenced two years ago but the Supreme Court annulled the verdict due to technicalities.
The Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny announced on Sunday an end to his sparkling career after a disappointing ninth place in Athens, his fifth Olympic Games. Zelezny, 38, said that he may take part in several exhibitions or smaller events but the world championship or even the Olympic Games are no longer for him. In Athens, Zelezny was seeking a fourth successive Olympic gold and a fifth successive Olympic medal, but finished ninth with 80.59 metres, lagging well behind his season best of 86.12. Three days ago Jan Zelezny was re-elected to the International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission.
The United States is to buy a Czech radar system which it had reportedly asked the Czech authorities not to supply to China. The Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda told Czech TV on Sunday the US was buying one device now, and would consider a larger contract in the future. The "Vera" system does not emit any waves and can discover other radar systems without itself being detected; it is said to be able to detect US Stealth aircraft.
It has been a black weekend on the Czech Republic's roads, with at least 17 people dying in road accidents. In the worst single crash, six people died in the earlier hours of Saturday morning when their car collided head-on with a van. The last weekend of the summer holidays sees high numbers of road deaths every year.
Jan Zelezny, who took gold in the javelin at the last three Olympics, came a disappointing ninth at the Athens Games on Saturday evening. The 38-year-old, who is widely regarded as the greatest athlete in the history of the javelin, threw 80.59 metres, some way short of the world record of 98.48 metres he set in 1996. The Czech team has won a total of eight medals in Athens, including one gold, for Roman Sebrle in the decathlon.
The Czech prime minister, Stanislav Gross, was among 2,000 guests who gathered at a memorial to the Slovak National Uprising in Banska Bystrica on Sunday. Mr Gross met his Slovak counterpart Mikulas Dzurinda at the ceremony; it was his first trip abroad since being appointed prime minister at the end of July. Following the anti-fascist Slovak National Uprising which began on August 29, 1944 the Nazis launched a reign of terror in Slovakia, killing approximately 20,000 people.