Charles IV, Holy Roman emperor and King of Bohemia /1316 -1378/ has been elected the Greatest Czech in history. The results of the competition were announced at a gala evening on Czech TV on Friday night. Charles IV brought the Czech lands to unprecedented prosperity, he was a skilled diplomat and peacemaker and a generous patron of learning and the arts. His legacy includes the oldest University in central Europe, the famous Charles Bridge and St. Vitus Cathedral, where he was laid to rest in 1378. Charles IV won over 68,000 votes from the public. The founder of Czechoslovakia, president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk came second and the former Czech president Vaclav Havel third.
The Czech Communist party is against the ratification of the EU Constitution in its present form. A meeting of the party's executive committee concluded that following the French and Dutch rejections of the treaty and Britain's decision to shelve its referendum, continuing with plans for ratification was no longer meaningful. The other opposition party on the Czech political scene, the right wing Civic Democrats, have expressed a similar opinion, saying that the treaty was dead and there was no point in wasting time and money on it.
Meanwhile, the Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has called on European Union leaders to send a strong signal to voters in the Czech Republic which would renew trust in the Constitution and the EU integration process in general. Speaking at a Visegrad group summit in Warsaw, the Czech Prime Minister said the upcoming EU summit in Brussels could have a significant impact on the situation in the Czech Republic, where Euro-scepticism has been on the rise since the French and Dutch rejections of the treaty. Prime Minister Paroubek had been in favour of forging ahead with an information campaign on the EU Constitution, but after consulting with his coalition partners he agreed to shelve that decision pending the outcome of the EU summit in Brussels.
A new witness has appeared in the Koristka bribery case in which the governing coalition accused the opposition of trying to bribe one of the coalition's MPs with the intention of bringing down the government. The case was recently shelved for lack of evidence. Ladislav Sommer, a 58 year old former journalist and writer, has now come forward to say that while sitting in a café in Ostrava he had overheard two men offering Freedom Union deputy Zdenek Koristka 10 million crowns and a promising career in exchange for voting against the coalition government in a planned no-confidence vote. He said he could identify the two men as Vecerek and Dalik, a lobbyist and adviser to the opposition Civic Democrats. The Civic Democrats say this is a smear campaign against them and point out that if this were true Sommer should have come forward while the case was still open. Police are investigating the claims.
A fifteen year old girl was seriously injured on a mountain climbing expedition when she fell from a 25 meter slope onto rocky terrain. According to the CTK news agency she was flown to hospital with spinal injuries and internal bleeding.
Some 7,000 people marched through Prague on Saturday in support of a cancer prevention campaign. The campaign concerns breast cancer and is an attempt to get more information to the public and persuade more women to undergo regular screening.
Sunday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with rain and day temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.
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