The Finance Ministry has dropped a 2.4 billion-crown fine against the company Mittal Steel Ostrava, the website iDnes reported. The steelmaker received the fine in December for overcharging for coke. The ministry refused to give an explanation for the decision. Mittal Steel Ostrava, formerly Nova hut, is part of multinational giant Mittal Steel.
The Czech Roman Catholic Church has called on the media not to pass judgement on priests who collaborated with the secret police under the communist regime. The Bishops Conference said clergy were sometimes forced into collaboration. An estimated 150 Czech priests collaborated with the StB secret police.
On Thursday President Klaus discussed the EU constitution with his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski, in Warsaw. Both men agreed that non-acceptance of the document would not lead the EU into crisis. The two presidents also discussed the United States plan to build parts of its global missile defence programme in their countries. A radar base will be built in Brdy, central Bohemia if approved by the Czech parliament, while a missile interceptor base could be built in Poland. Mr Kaczynski said the two countries would co-ordinate their approach to the project.
Speaking on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said people should not forget what had led to the extermination of Jews and others during World War II. Mr Topolanek was speaking at a meeting at the Senate organised by the Czech Federation of Jewish Communities and the Fund of Holocaust Victims Foundation. He said if people allowed their individual freedom to be replaced by spirit of collectivism a new Holocaust could arise.
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has discussed her plan to revive the European Union constitution on a one-day visit to Prague. Chancellor Merkel met the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, and prime minister, Mirek Topolanek. Both men are against reviving the constitution in its current form, calling for a new, simpler document.
The Czech figure skater Tomas Verner has won a silver medal at the European Championships in Poland. Verner, who is 20, had his hopes of gold dashed when he fell coming out of a quadruple toe loop. It was the Czech Republic's first medal in the competition in 12 years. Verner's trainer Vlasta Koprivova said his success could help bring back the good times for Czech figure skating.
One of the most highly regarded Czech-Americans in Washington Irena Kirkland has died at the age of 81. After surviving Auschwitz she fell foul of the communist authorities in Czechoslovakia before moving to Israel and later the USA. Irena Kirkland did a lot to help the anti-communist movement in her native country and received the Czech Foreign Ministry's Gratis Agit award just a week before her death.
The United States has asked the Czech government if it can locate a planned radar base in the Brdy military zone in central Bohemia. One other location had been under consideration, Libava in north Moravia. The radar would be part of the United States' global missile defence programme. If approved by the Czech parliament, the radar base should house around 200 US soldiers and civilians and go into operation in 2011.
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’