The Czech government will not comment on France's rejection of the European Constitution until the next meeting of the European Council in three weeks' time, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said on Monday. He added that the adoption of the EU Constitution remained a priority for the Czech Republic. The opposition Civic Democrats welcomed the result of the French referendum as well as Czech President Vaclav Klaus who said it "proved that there was a gulf between the opinions of Europe's political elite and normal Europeans". The Czech Republic has not decided how or when to ratify the constitution. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek favours holding a referendum along with parliamentary elections in June 2006.
A Prague court has sentenced a member of the Qatar royal family, Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani, to 2.5 years in prison for sexual contacts with girls under the age of fifteen. The court has also ordered the expulsion of Mr Sani from the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Stefan Fule, has said the embassy can neither confirm nor deny the information that the mute man, known as the "Piano Man", whom British police are trying to identify after he was found wandering on an English beach last month, could be a Czech citizen. According to Mr Fule, the British authorities have not yet contacted the Czech embassy. Two Czech rock musicians say that after seeing the man's photograph, they recognised him as their friend, Czech musician Tomas Strnad.
Central Bohemia and the capital Prague were hit by a hail storm on Monday afternoon. Two women were hit by falling branches and were taken to hospital with head injuries. A number of tram lines were interrupted for several hours as fallen trees broke the trolleys in some places, and elsewhere tram tracks were under water. Some metro stations were also flooded. The hail storm marked the onset of a cold front bringing an end to a week-long heat wave.
Czech footballer Svatopluk Pluskal who was part of the Czechoslovak team that reached the 1962 World Cup final, has died at the age of 74 in a nursing home. Pluskal, who was capped 56 times between 1952 and 1965, was not only in the side that lost 3-1 to Brazil in the World Cup final but also finished third in the 1960 European Championships. He formed a stunning midfield partnership with Josef Masopust, European footballer of the year in 1962, both at international and club level at Dukla Prague. Pluskal, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2004, coached Prague Bohemians, Cyprus outfit Enosis Neon Paralimni and Skoda Pilsen.
We can expect more heavy showers, strong gusts of wind and hail storms in the coming days and daytime temperatures should fall to 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. Weathermen also warn of possible local floods.
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