A Prague court has ruled that Jiri Balvin who was appointed general director of Czech Television last October, is not the legal head of the station. According to the ruling, the resolution of the Czech Television Council appointing Mr Balvin as director, is invalid. According to the court the council gave advantages to some candidates while others were disadvantaged. Czech Television is planning to appeal against the verdict and the chairman of the Czech Television Council, Jan Mrzena, has refused to comment on the court decision until he receives it in writing. Jiri Balvin was appointed temporary director of Czech Televison in February 2001 after Jiri Hodac resigned amid an employees' strike. In the autumn of 2001 Balvin won a selection procedure for the post which he has held since November 15, 2001.
The Czech Republic's state budget deficit has increased reaching 26.8 billion crowns (or 893 million US dollars) at the end of July, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday. The figure is 3.3 billion crowns higher than in the same period last year. For the rest of 2002 the Ministry is expecting the deficit to continue growing and reach approximately 68 billion crowns; 22 billion more than the approved state budget deficit.
Czech Roma asylum seekers who have been rejected political asylum abroad should not be entitled to social benefits after they return to the Czech Republic, the Government Council for Roma Affairs decided on Thursday. The council also agreed that a special police body should be established in order to deal with the widespread problem of illegal money-lending among the Czech Roma community. The number of Romanies seeking asylum in Great Britain has grown dramatically in the last few months. According to the government's human rights commissioner, Jan Jarab, excessive debt is among the reasons why Czech Roma are leaving the country.
The Czech government agreed on Thursday that if Social Democrat MP and former Foreign Minister Jan Kavan resigns from his post in the European Union Convent, the Czech government would decide who will replace him in the position. Jan Kavan who is also the President of the United Nations' General Assembly admitted recently he was considering whether it was possible to perform all his duties successfully. Following the recent disclosure of an alleged attempt to kill a Czech investigative reporter plotted by a former senior foreign ministry official, the Czech President Vaclav Havel suggested last week that Mr Kavan, the suspect's former boss, should resign from his posts in international organisations.
The Environment Minister of Upper Austria, Ursula Haubner of the far-right Freedom Party, has said she wants to start talks with the Czech Republic on the phasing out of the controversial Temelin nuclear power station which is situated close to the Austrian border. Ms Haubner suggested on Thursday that the cabinet should invite the new Czech Environment Minister, Libor Ambrozek, for negotiations in Upper Austria. The topic of their talks should be renewable sources of energy and the eventual closing down of Temelin. Mr Ambrozek said on Wednesday he wanted the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant to be the country's last and that he would ask the Czech government to adopt an energy policy that includes the complete phasing-out of nuclear power. Ms Haubner's party has welcomed Mr Ambrozek's statements saying that anti-Temelin activists had been given fresh hope in their battle to have the plant shut down.
And finally a look at the weather. Meteorologists are expecting thunderstorms, strong winds and hailstorms to continue throughout Thursday evening possibly causing local floods especially in the Northeast and Northwest of the country. On Friday, a cold front moving over the Czech Republic should bring cloudy skies and more rain or thunderstorms across the country. Daytime temperatures are expected to range from 22 to 26 degrees Celsius.
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