Thirteen of fourteen members of the regulatory board the Czech Television Council meeting on Wednesday failed to elect a new general director to take over as the head of Czech TV. A first ballot earlier in the day saw two out of six candidates go through to a second round: journalist Jana Kasalova, and business manager Jiri Franc. Neither candidate, however, received the required number of ten votes, required to be elected as general director of the public broadcaster, in a second round of voting. Mrs Kasalova was two ballots short, at eight, while Mr Franc received just one vote. Four ballots were spoiled. The Czech Television Council is now negotiating further steps to take. Since November Czech TV has been run by interim director Petr Klimes, who took over after the broadcaster's former director, Jiri Balvin, was recalled from his post for poor management.
Meanwhile, well-known artist and head of the National Gallery Milan Knizak has left Czech TV Council proceedings, saying he will give up his post in the council after Wednesday's failure to produce a new general director for the public broadcaster. Mr Knizak said he would tender his resignation to the Lower House as soon as possible.
Czech exports to the European Union got off to a surprisingly strong start at the beginning of the year, rising in January by almost eight percent year-on-year to 74 billion crowns. Economists, however, are warning against early optimism, saying the numbers on Czech exports do not reflect negative economic trends in neighbouring Germany. Another factor somewhat distorting the current figures: a 3 percent drop in Czech exports last year. Some Czech economists expect positive growth in exports in 2003 to rise by more than ten percent by the end of the year, stimulating overall economic growth. Seventy percent of Czech exports go to the EU, with around half of that going to Germany. Dominant exports to EU countries include automobiles, electrical appliances, office tools, and computers.
A Prague court has dismissed a case put forward by the director of the Transgas company Alena Vitaskova, who was attempting to sue the Czech weekly Respekt over an article the paper had published, listing Mrs Vitaskova as a collaborator for the communist secret police in former Czechoslovakia. While recognising that Mrs Vitaskova was unaware she had been used by the secret police at the time, the court dismissed the argument the weekly had caused her personal trauma and damages. The head of the natural gas importer had been trying to sue the paper for up to ten million crowns.
Former TV personality Tereza Pergnerova has been found 'not guilty' by a Prague court to charges she had repeatedly tried to sell the illegal drug pervetine to a family member; there was no evidence of any such deed, the court judge ruled. Ms Pergnerova, whose fight with heroin addiction is well-documented, rose to fame in the mid-1990s, when she hosted a popular television music programme in the Czech Republic. On Wednesday Ms Pergnerova left the court clearly pleased by the ruling, however the state prosecutor may still consider to appeal the decision.
Thursday will be mostly sunny with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 6 degrees Celsius.
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