Daily news summary News

06-05-2005

Czech Republic preparing for weekend of events to mark end of War

The Czech Republic is preparing for a weekend of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, with most memorials being held in Prague and the west Bohemian town of Pilsen. On Saturday a reenactment of a bloody battle for control of Czech Radio is being held on Prague's Vinohradska Street. Sunday will see a host of memorial events, including the first military parade on the city's Letna plain since the fall of communism.

Czechs to choose "Greatest Ever Czech" from shortlist of ten

A poll to decide who is the "Greatest Ever Czech" reached its penultimate phase on Thursday evening, when the top ten names were revealed by Czech Television. The only living person in the top ten is former president Vaclav Havel. Among the others are first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, writers Karel Capek and Bozena Nemcova, educator Jan Amos Komensky, composer Antonin Dvorak and actor Jan Werich. The list also includes the important historical figures of Jan Hus, Jan Zizka and Charles IV. Czechs have just over a month to vote on the "Greatest Ever Czech" from this shortlist.

President Klaus rejects call for EU Constitution debate from Lower House chairman

President Vaclav Klaus's office has rejected a call from the chairman of the Lower House of Parliament, Lubomir Zaoralek, for a public debate on the European Union Constitution. The president's spokesman said Mr Klaus was already leading the debate, and indeed had been the first person to raise the issue. President Klaus has been described as the only head of state in the European Union to be publicly opposed to the EU Constitution, and was recently involved in a dispute over the issue with two leading members of the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, the government European affairs information committee has said a planned campaign to persuade Czechs to vote Yes to the Constitution will cost slightly less than originally planned. However, it is still not clear whether ratification will be decided by a referendum or by Parliament.

Social Democrat Basta set to be second in command at Foreign Ministry

Jaroslav Basta has been chosen by the Social Democrats to be first deputy foreign minister. The announcement came after a group of rebel Social Democrat MPs insisted on the party securing the post as a counterweight to Christian Democrat Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who they say is too pro-American. Mr Svoboda has already said he would not be opposed to the appointment of Mr Basta.

Jagr back in action at Ice Hockey World Championships soon after breaking finger

Czech ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr says he is ready to play against Slovakia, just a few days after breaking his little finger in an earlier game at the World Championships in Vienna. The Czech team have reached the last 16 in the competition, after beating Switzerland, Germany and Kazakhstan in the first group stage. Saturday's match against the Slovaks will be their first real test.

Weather

The next few days should see rain in places but also sunny spells. Temperatures are expected to range from around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.

06-05-2005