The 38th Karlovy International Film Festival got underway over the weekend, welcoming visitors and film stars from around the world, among them British director Stephen Frears, American actor Morgan Freeman, and Canadian actress Deborah Kary Unger. Czech notables at the festival included Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and Culture Minister Pavel Dostal, who applauded 10 years of festival stewardship by Czech producers Jiri Bartoska and Eva Zaoralova. Two awards for lifetime contribution to cinematography have already been given. The recipients: Stephen Frears, the director of such renowned films as The Grifters and Dangerous Liasons, and Jiri Menzel, the Czech director who won an Oscar in 1968 for his film Closely-Watched Trains.
The Vatican is expecting an official statement from the Czech government on how it sees future relations between the Holy See and the Czech Republic, the spokesman for the Czech Bishops' Conference Daniel Herman said. In May, the lower house of Parliament failed to ratify an already signed agreement on bilateral relations, due to a large majority of votes against the document from the Social Democrats as well as the opposition Communists and Civic Democrats. The Vatican has officially voiced surprise at the rejection of the long-prepared document. But Czech deputies point out the agreement does not resolve controversial issues such as property restitutions and the funding of churches. According to deputy Prime Minister Petr Mares, the government will try to persuade the Chamber of Deputies to approve the agreement between the Czech Republic and the Vatican. With the Czech Republic being one of the last post-communist countries which has not passed an agreement regulating its relations with the Catholic Church, Mr Mares, said it is practically unthinkable not to have relations with the Vatican settled.
President Vaclav Klaus has returned from an official trip to Athens, Greece. Mr Klaus attended the Athens Seminar 2003 conference at which he gave a lecture on the relations between the European Union and the United States. On Friday, the Czech president met with his Greek counterpart Costantine Stephanopoulos to discuss bilateral relations as well as the future of the European Union.
The Finance Ministry is not planning to reserve money in the state budget, for emergency cases when an already completed project is not covered by the EU, mainly for the reasons of having violated EU rules and regulations. According to Finance Ministry spokesperson, Eva Novakova, the ministry's decision was made to force individual Czech ministries into processing and approving only the best projects that will guarantee EU funding. Should a project fail to get EU support, it will be up to the ministry responsible to cover the costs involved.
Monday has been forecast with overcast skies and scattered showers throughout the day. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 24 degrees Celsius.
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