At their meeting in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four countries agreed to continue cooperating within the grouping even as EU member states. The Visegrad group is a loose economic alliance of four Central European states - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. It was established thirteen years ago in an effort to strengthen regional contacts and fill the void which emerged after the collapse of the Soviet block. Some commentators say the alliance has become obsolete with the enlargement of the EU, but the prime ministers of the four states said today that maintaining the existing contacts would prove advantageous for all concerned and better enable them to defend their economic interests within the European Union.
The EU's executive commission has placed six of the newly admitted EU member states, including the Czech Republic, under increased financial surveillance because their public deficits currently exceed EU limits. However the commission said it would be benevolent and was according the six new members several years to bring their deficits in line with the provisions of the 1997 Stability and Growth Pact. The Pact requires members of the European Union to hold their annual deficits to less than three percent of output.
Laboratory tests have confirmed an eleventh case of mad cow disease in the Czech Republic. The infected animal came from a farm in the Cesky Krumlov region, southern Bohemia. The head of the State Veterinary Office said all the necessary precautions were being taken. Since in this case the infected animal was a breeding bull there will be no need to slaughter all the cattle from the same herd.
The third annual summit of the Association for International Broadcasters, of which Radio Prague is a member, is currently underway in the Czech capital Prague. The AIB Global Media Business Conference, which is being held at the headquarters of Radio Free Europe /Radio Liberty, has brought together broadcast executives, producers, journalists and service providers from around the world to meet, exchange ideas and discuss future cooperation. The main focus of interest is on new trends in international broadcasting, new technology and networking.
The police have pulled the wreck of a car out of the Vltava river on the outskirts of Prague. Inside was the dead body of a young man, whose identity has not yet been ascertained. A police spokeswoman said that the circumstances pointed to an accident but that more information would be made available after the autopsy.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with rain showers and day temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.
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