The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, says the European Union's
ability to absorb more countries should not be a condition for further
enlargement. Speaking after an EU summit in Brussels, the minister said
by absorption ability he meant the question of whether present members
can afford the accession of other countries, and whether they could
defend further enlargement in their own parliaments. Mr Svoboda called
for the doors to enlargement to be "opened fully".
On the issue of ratification of the stalled EU constitution, Minister Svoboda said the process should not continue, given that the document had been rejected by French and Dutch voters. Fifteen EU states have ratified the constitution, while a number of others - including the Czech Republic - have put the issue on hold.
The jazz singer Vlasta Pruchova has died at the age of 79. Known as the first lady of Czech jazz, she was actually born in Ruzomberok in Slovakia. In a career spanning over half a century, she appeared with many of the country's leading groups and orchestras. Her late husband Jan Hammer - a cardiologist by profession - also played jazz, while their son Jan Hammer is an internationally famous musician.
The Czech Republic have been beaten 2:0 by Ghana in their second group game at the football World Cup in Germany. The Czechs conceded the first goal within minutes of the kick-off, and were put under great pressure when defender Tomas Ufalujsi was sent off after 65 minutes. Despite a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Petr Cech, Ghana managed to seal their victory with a second goal ten minutes before the end. The Czech Republic's last group match is against Italy on Thursday.
Prague's museums are opening their doors to the public free of charge from 5pm to midnight on Saturday, as part of the annual "museum night". Twenty-one institutions are taking part in the event, which has been organised by the National Museum. Prague's transport authority is laying on extra buses for visitors.
Three-quarters of Czechs do not think the Czech Republic should give more attention to the rights of the Roma minority, suggests a poll by the STEM agency. Over two-thirds of respondents said they had a "negative relationship" towards Romanies, while one third said they would be completely opposed to having a Romany neighbour. Roma in the Czech Republic complain of constant discrimination; they have higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of education.
The police are investigating Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek, after he presented several wads of what looked like banknotes on a TV debate programme, the website aktualne.cz reports. He put the wads on the table in an attempt to highlight alleged corruption involving the Social Democrats, whose leader Jiri Paroubek he was debating. Mr Topolanek is now being investigated on suspicion of counterfeiting, aktualne says.
The BBC World Service will consider taking legal steps against the decision by the Czech broadcasting council which ruled this week that the BBC had broken license regulations by sharing its local frequency with a Czech Radio news station. The former editor-in-chief of the BBC's Czech Section and now a representative of the licence holder, Radiocom, Vit Kolar, said on Friday that at the moment the London headquarters is considering three options, one of them being legal action. The BBC Czech Service was discontinued earlier this year and the BBC now faces the threat of losing the FM license for its English-language broadcasts in the Czech Republic.
Three Czech centre-right parties have agreed how they will divide seats in a cabinet they are forming after an election earlier this month, though they have offered no clues on how they will secure a majority in parliament. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats won the election but together with their partners, the centrist Christian Democrats and the Greens, they control only 100 seats in the 200-seat lower house. Civic Democrat chief Mirek Topolanek said on Friday after negotiations between the three parties that the Civic Democrats would take nine seats in the new cabinet, while the smaller parties would have three each. The party leaders reiterated that they expected to sign a coalition agreement ahead of the first session of the newly elected parliament due on June 27.
The Prague City Court has ruled that St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and not the state, upholding an earlier verdict by a Prague district court. The Church and the state have been fighting over ownership rights for over thirteen years. A 1954 government resolution gave Prague Castle the authority to manage the cathedral and surrounding property but the court decided that the transfer of management did not automatically imply a transfer of ownership. The state plans to appeal at the Supreme Court.
Five people were killed in a traffic accident on Friday afternoon when two passenger cars collided head-on near the town of Breclav, South Moravia. Fire fighters and a helicopter were called to the scene of the accident. Only one passenger, a woman from Slovakia, survived the crash and was rushed to hospital.
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