The Reuters news agency has reported that the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, will warn all 10 countries joining next May, they have not yet met entry requirements in dozens of areas, though the EU will still press ahead with enlargement. According to Reuters the Commission said it will publish its final progress reports next Wednesday. Acceding countries, including the Czech Republic, are expected to receive letters demanding immediate and decisive action in response to concerns in 39 different sectors. The Czech Republic, though, is expected to receive warnings in just 3 areas, covering the state of food processing, the application of EU regulations in road transport, and the approval of a law mutually recognising university degrees. A fourth point dealing with the law on public tenders has been made moot by a bill passed in the Czech Lower House on Thursday.
President Vaclav Klaus has nominated family law expert and legislative council member Jiri Nykodym to become a judge at the country's constitutional court. The president's spokesman Petr Hajek said on Friday the president viewed Mr Nykodym as a person whose many years of legal experience would be a clear contribution. Whether he is actually appointed to the constitutional court will now depend on the Senate. In the past the Upper House turned down several Klaus candidates, including Vladimir Balas, Vaclav Pavlicek, and Klara Vesela-Samkova. At the same time, six Klaus nominees received appointments, among them former defence minister Miloslav Vyborny and former Civic Democrat senator Dagmar Lastovecka.
For the second time the Lower house failed to nominate a candidate to head the country's Supreme Audit Office on Friday. The day saw two candidates vie for the post: Miroslav Benes, a deputy for the right-of-centre Civic Democrats and Social Democrat Jitka Kupcova, a deputy-head of the Lower House. Neither, however, received the minimum number of votes required. The Czech news agency CTK reported that Mrs Kupcova received 87 ballots, while Mr Benes received just 58. The minimum number of votes needed for the nomination was 91.
Marta Chadimova, charged for fraud in a well-publicised restitution case, has accepted a presidential pardon given in 1995 by then president Vaclav Havel. Mrs Chadimova was suspected of having tampered with legal documents to gain control over state property in Prague's Hradcany district, but she has always maintained her innocence. Despite receiving a presidential pardon from Mr Havel eight years ago, Mrs Chadimova chose not to accept the pardon opting to fight a complicated legal battle instead. Earlier this month Mrs Chadimova finally lost her civilian case and must now return the disputed property. Her decision to accept the presidential pardon at this point closes the door on her case.
The Defence Ministry has revealed it is considering five proposals for providing the Czech Air Force with 14 older supersonic fighter aircraft - a commission will make a recommendation from the five proposals to the government later this month. Offers for the sale of the older fighter jets were put forward by Belgium, the Netherlands, the U.S., Sweden, and Canada. Aircraft on offer include mostly F-16s, Swedish Gripens, and Canadian F/A 18 fighters.
Astronomers in the Czech Republic reported the discovery of a rare asteroid on Friday that swept within about one million kilometres of Earth earlier in the week. The close encounter was tracked by the Klet Observatory in south Bohemia, and recorded by the U.S.-based Minor Planet Centre at Harvard University. The asteroid, named 2003 UT55, is the latest of 194 known asteroids classified in the Atens category. UT55 becomes the first Atens spotted by the Klet team since the observatory installed a new telescope last year. The Czech astronomers calculated UT55 at less than 20 metres in diameter. The object did not come close enough to Earth to qualify for an international list of about 540 "potentially hazardous asteroids", watched carefully by world scientists. But, Klet director Jana Ticha said data gleaned from the event would help scientists better understand millions of asteroids racing through near outer-space.
The country's top prosecutor has ordered a new investigation into a case involving star Czech goaltender Dominik Hasek. During an amateur in-line skating game in May Hasek allegedly injured a fellow player who consequently spent three days in hospital. Mr Hasek faced charges but was cleared in August of wrong doing and the case was reclassified a misdemeanour. This week, however, the case was reopened on the grounds that, according to the country's top prosecutor Marie Benesova, not all facts and circumstances had been properly investigated. The ruling has come as a surprise to both Mr Hasek's lawyer and the local prosecutor who handled the case. If found guilty of bodily harm in the reopened case Mr Hasek could face up to eight years in prison.
Saturday is expected to see light showers with a maximum daytime temperature of 16 degrees Celsius.
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