The Czech Republic has fielded a record number of candidates for the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. A total of 31 Czech parties and movements will compete in the June 11-12 elections — far more than any other EU member state apart from Spain, the daily Hospodarske noviny reports. Whereas Spain has a long tradition of fielding regional candidates, the Czech field is exceptionally wide due to the low cost of registering a political entity, which is 15,000 crowns (about 500 euros). In Slovakia, registration costs three times as much and only 17 parties will vie for seats in the European Parliament; in Austria, the deposit is equivalent to 119,000 crowns, and only six parties are running, the paper notes.
A two-year-old girl remains in critical condition after she and her mother were hit by a drunk driver on Monday. The little girl sustained head injuries and will undergo surgery on for unspecified internal injuries. Police say blood tests revealed that the driver, a doctor at Prague's Vinohrady Teaching Hospital who was returning to work at the time of the accident, had consumed hard alcohol before getting behind the wheel of his car. The doctor has been placed on suspension and will likely be dismissed from his post.
Separate reports published by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Tuesday say that the Roma minority are still being discriminated against in the Czech Republic, Greece and Hungary. The report on the Czech Republic said "there have been few noticeable improvements in the situation of Roma" whose "marginalisation from mainstream society continues through their ghettoisation in substandard housing complexes on the outskirts of cities", said the ECRI, the Council of Europe's expert body on combating racism. It added that racially motivated violence and ill-treatment of Roma by the Czech police "continue to be problems of concern".
Czechs trust the United Nations and the European Union the most of all international institutions, a recent poll conducted by the CVVM agency has shown. The U.N. and the EU are both trusted by nearly two-thirds of Czechs. Almost half of the respondents said they trusted the European Parliament and the NATO military alliance, while 46 percent said they trust the European Commission — the EU executive arm — and 32 percent said they trust the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the poll showed. NATO and the EU are mistrusted by 36 and 26 percent of Czechs respectively, the poll showed.
The Czech police have purchased a $1.2 million dollar system that will enable them to connect to the European database of fingerprints, known as EURODAC. A departmental head at the Criminological Institute told the Czech news agency that the technology would enable the Czech authorities to share data on asylum-seekers and people who have crossed into Czech territory illegally with other EU member states. The Czech Republic will have 15 stations equipped with the Motorola 2000 system, which stores fingerprints as electronic data files that can easily be searched.
A mere week after the "moving" art project began on the streets of Prague, every tenth bovine sculpture in the city's Cow Parade exhibit has been vandalised, the newspaper Pravo reported on Tuesday. However, one project organisers told the daily that most of the damage had been minor. Some 220 brightly-coloured cow sculptures are due to remain in place around the Czech capital until September.
Czech footballers Milan Baros and Vratislav Lokvenc have been given the go-ahead to start training again as of Wednesday. Mr Baros came off with a head injury in Sunday's 2-0 home win in a friendly against Estonia following a collision with an opponent, but did not suffer a concussion as was initially feared. Mr Lokvenc, who sat out the Estonia match after spraining his ankle last week, is also back in form, team doctors said. Both strikers are expected to play for the Czech national team against Latvia next week in the opening round of the Euro 2004 football championship.
Wednesday should be warm and humid but with clear skies. The maximum temperature will be 27 degrees Celsius.
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