European Union finance ministers endorsed on Monday endorsed budget recommendations for the Czech Republic and five other new EU member states that broke the bloc's deficit cap last year. Under the terms of the European Union's "Stability and Growth Pact," governments cannot run a budget deficit greater than 3 per cent of GDP, nor can they have a debt ratio of more than 60 per cent of GDP. Thanks to taking on unusually high "one-off" loan guarantees, the Czech Republic last year posted a 12.9 per cent budget deficit as a percentage of GDP -- the largest of any EU country. This year it is likely to be 6 per cent.
The little girl who was run down by a drunken doctor on the grounds of Prague's Vinohrady teaching hospital one month ago is in stable condition after having had the first of her bandages removed on Monday following a skin graft. Two-year-old Lucinka Simrova will undergo further plastic surgery on Wednesday.
Police have arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of a 37-year-old man on Zenklova Street in Prague 8 in the early hours of Monday morning. The perpetrator had found the man in bed with his wife and shot him in the throat as he tried to escape.
The UEFA EURO 2004 "All-Star Squad" was announced in Lisbon on Monday, the day after the European football championship ended, with the Greek side beating out host country Portugal 1:0 for the top spot. Three players from the Czech national team, which took a bronze in Euro 2004, made the UEFA "dream team" of 23 players: Goalie Petr Cech, midfielder Pavel Nedved and striker Milan Baros.
If this seems like a slow news day that may well be because the fifth of July is a national holiday in the Czech Republic, commemorating Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine-era missionaries who in the 9th century brought the Christian faith and the Cyrillic alphabet to the Czech lands. Prince Rostislav of the Great Moravian Empire had asked the priests to come preach the gospel in the old Slavonic language. The saints are now honoured as the fathers of the Slavonic alphabet. As every year, the celebration in the Czech Republic peaked in the Moravian pilgrimage town of Velehrad, where bishops served mass to tens of thousands of believers.
Tuesday should see mostly clear skies with highs of around 27 degrees Celsius.
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