Prime Minister Milos Zeman has reiterated his support for the creation of federal structures within the EU. Speaking at an international conference in Saint Wolfgang in Austria on Saturday, Mr Zeman said that the European Union should not just be a free trade zone, but should have a united security and defence policy and should be federal in structure. At the conference, the Czech prime minister also met with Croat president counterpart Stipe Mesic, and the two discussed the current situation in the Balkans, and ways to improve relations between Croats and Serbs.
A Prague-based travel agency, whose planes were grounded over the weekend, says that normal operations have been resumed. The agency, Fischer, has three of its own planes, which are used to transport Czech tourists to various holiday resorts around the Mediterranean. All three planes were grounded on Saturday, after a technical fault was discovered on one plane. The problem has apparently now been resolved, and the planes are back in operation. According to a spokeswoman from Fischer, passengers can expect delays of roughly two hours. Last year, Fischer flew 300,000 people abroad for holidays.
According to the Business Software Alliance, software piracy in the Czech Republic apparently cost software companies 172 million US dollars in the year 2000. The BSA, which represents major software producers around the world, says that pirated software accounts for 43 percent of the total market in the Czech Republic. This figure is far below the average in Central and Eastern Europe, where the highest level of pirated software is to be found in Ukraine, with a figure of 89 percent. The average in Western Europe is 34 percent. Software companies employ some 140,000 people in Central and Eastern Europe.
Yugoslavia has announced plans to abolish visas for summer visitors from the European Union and a number of other countries, including the Czech Republic. For the duration of the tourist season, Czech nationals will be able to enter Yugoslavia without visas. Travellers will be issued a 30 day tourist pass at international border crossings into Yugoslavia.
Four armed men suspected of drug trafficking have been arrested in Prague. The four men, all aged between 20 and 28, have been charged with the production and distribution of two banned substances, ephedrine and pervitin. One of the four men is said to be a member of Prague's police force. The other three men are apparently body builders, with contacts amongst the Russian Mafia. Ephedrine can be used to produce pervitin, a home-made narcotic, and is also used in the production of illegal steroids for sportsmen.
From the world of sport now, and the Czech Republic's hopes of at least one title from Wimbledon were dashed on Sunday, as Jiri Novak and David Rikl were defeated in the final of the men's doubles tournament by Americans Donald Johnson and Jared Palmer, 6-4 4-6 6-3 7-6.
Following the defeat of American company Anheuser Busch in a court case in Munich by rival company Budvar of Ceske Budejovice, representatives of the company say this have little impact on sales. The two companies have been battling for years over the brand name Budwesier. In 1999, the companies agreed to split the world's markets between them for use of their trademarks, but both have found it difficult to keep to the agreement. In the case in Munich, the court decided in favour of Budvar, saying that the Czech company alone has the right to the use the Budwesier trademark in Germany. Anheuser Busch intends to appeal the verdict.
Football now, and Italian side Juventus are said to be close to completing the signing of Czech international midfielder Pavel Nedved from rival team Lazio. Pavel Nedved is said to have told an Italian radio station his mind was firmly made up in favour of Juventus. "With the team that's being assembled there we can win everything -even the Champions league" Nedved is quoted as saying. According to the CTK news agency Juventus are to pay close to 40 US million dollars for Nedved's transfer.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday in the Czech Republic should see cloudy to overcast skies, with rain showers and thunderstorms expected throughout the country. Daytime highs should reach 25 degrees Celsius. Night-time lows on Monday could drop to 11 degrees Celsius.
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