A court in Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia has sentenced a neo-nazi skinhead to 13 years in prison for the murder of a Romany man. Last July twenty-two-year-old Vlastimil Pechanec racially abused Romany Ota Absolon at a disco in the town of Svitavy before stabbing him fatally in the stomach. Police intervened outside the court on Friday as a group of skinheads supporting Pechanec tried to attack human rights activists. On Thursday a court in Prague gave a skinhead seven years in prison for attacking three people.
Former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jiri Dienstbier has announced he will run for the post of United Nations high commissioner for human rights when the current commissioner Mary Robinson steps down in September. Mr Dienstbier, who is 64, served as United Nations special envoy for human rights in the former Yugoslavia from 1998 to 2001.
President Vaclav Havel has granted two presidential pardons, making a total of 20 pardons so far this year. Mr Havel pardoned a woman who stole in order to pay for her drug habit and a foreign man who served a four-month sentence for a stabbing offence in 1976. In his time as president, Mr Havel has pardoned 1,887 people. Critics say he has used the privelige excessively.
Komercni banka bank is planning to lay off one quarter of its staff by 2004, the bank's general director said on Friday. At the same time the bank hopes to attract 50,000 new customers a year. Komercni banka is one of the largest banks in the Czech Republic.
A festival of Czech films is to begin touring the United Kingdom in mid-April. The festival, which is being organised by the Czech centre in London, will include a retrospective of the films of Vera Chytilova, as well as several other films by contemporary Czech directors. The festival will run in nine cities in the UK, including London and Edinburgh.
The Czech crown once again set a new record against the Euro when it reached 30.82 to the Euro on Friday, breaking a record set the day before. Analysts expect the crown to strengthen yet further when trading reopens on Tuesday.
Saturday should be mostly sunny, with temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius. Sunday and Monday should also be quite sunny, with temperatures between 14 and 18 Celsius.
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