The Lower House of the Czech Parliament has elected a new 15-member Supervisory Board for the country's public TV network, Czech Television. The selection process to choose the members of the board, which appoints the station's General Director, came under severe criticism this week, as Czech TV journalists and their supporters accused MPs of cleansing the list - nominated by civic associations and other public bodies - of candidates they didn't like prior to the vote. Following the criticism the lower house compiled a new list. Parliament had to amend the selection process earlier this year after thousands took to the streets in protest against the appointment of a new director which many said was politically motivated. Critics say that even after the changes the selection process still fails to guarantee Czech Television complete independence from political influence.
The Czech Republic is to keep duty-free and tax-free shops until the end of 2003. The Lower House of Parliament unexpectedly changed its earlier decision to close down these shops by the end of this year. The decision could complicate the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union. The EU considers this kind of shop as unacceptable as people travel abroad to buy large volumes of goods which they then import without paying customs duties and VAT. The decision is in contradiction with the Czech Republic's plan to be ready to join the EU in January 2003.
Members of the Czech World War II anti-fascist resistance movement and political prisoners under the Communist regime are to receive financial compensations. Local anti-fascist activists were the last group not to receive any compensation for their suffering. Those who were members of the resistance movement for at least one year will receive 120 thousand crowns, which is about ten times the average monthly wage, plus a thousand crowns for every extra month. Prisoners of conscience under the Communist regime between 1948 and 1990 who served at least a year in prison will receive the same amount of money. The Czech Union of Freedom Fighters has welcomed the decision, saying that Czech society has finally acknowledged the important role of anti-totalitarian resistance movements.
And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a warm and sunny day with afternoon highs ranging from 19 to 23 degrees Celsius. Sunday and Monday should be partially cloudy with scattered showers, the highest daytime temperatures should reach up to 25 degrees Celsius.
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