The slaughter of more than 100 cows continues at a farm in the village of Dusejov in South Bohemia, where the first case of BSE was discovered last week. The carcasses are being marked before being buried and samples are being taken for further investigation of BSE by the Veterinary Institute in the nearby town of Jihlava. A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, Pavel Kovar, said the slaughter was being carried out using the same standards as in EU countries which had reported cases of mad cow disease. All cattle up to a year younger and a year older than the infected cow are being slaughtered. Army units are helping the operation, which is set to continue into the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Municipal Court in Prague has sentenced a former Communist prosecutor to seven years in prison for his part in the execution in 1949 of General Heliodor Pika, a veteran of both world wars. The court ruled on Friday that 85-year old Karel Vas had made a substantial contribution to the capital punishment verdict by providing false evidence about Pika's collaboration with the British intelligence service. A show trial with General Pika was held a year after the 1948 Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia, which preceded further trials of this kind, resulting in dozens of deaths of innocent people. Mr. Vas has appealed and the case will go to the Supreme court.
Germany's Foundation for Compensation for Slave and Forced Labourers announced in Berlin on Friday that it had transferred the first payments to the Czech Republic, Poland as well as to the international Jewish organisation, the Jewish Claims Conference. The first payment to the Czech Republic amounts to 56 million German marks out of a total of 423 million. The German parliament - the Bundestag - approved the sending of the first payments two weeks ago, after months of disputes surrounding legal guarantees to German companies so they cannot be sued individually in the United States.
Senate deputy chairman and former Interior Minister, Jan Ruml, has said he will not comment any further on false screening certificates, discovered two weeks ago, before he sees all the related documents. The certificates were issued in the early 1990s when Mr Ruml was still deputy Interior Minister, after screening which was to rule out people's collaboration with the Communist secret police, the StB. Those with positive screening were barred from holding political and public posts. Recently more than a hundred false certificates have been discovered at the Ministry of Defence, and senior politicians have accused Jan Ruml of responsibility, which he denies.
Next week, the Constitutional Court in Brno will rule on President Vaclav Havel's proposal to leave out several passages from an amended law on the Czech National Bank. The Court will also deal with a dispute between the president and Prime Minister Milos Zeman on the appointment of the governor of the central bank. The bone of contention is the Prime Minister's counter signature on the governor's appointment documents. The president's view that the signature is not necessary has been sharply criticised by Prime Minister Zeman as well as by the speaker of the lower house, Vaclav Klaus.
And finally a look at the weather: We expect a cloudy weekend with rain showers and thunderstorms in places, and with daytime highs between 17 and 23 degrees Celsius.
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