The centre of the Moravian capital Brno was paralysed on Thursday, after a number of bomb scares caused widespread disruption and saw traffic rerouted for several hours. Police, alerted by concerned passers-by, sealed off two squares in the city centre and called in fire fighters, rescue workers, and bomb disposal experts to investigate two suspicious devices. None of the devices found contained explosives or proved dangerous. Several hours later, an anonymous caller warned of a bomb in the city's Palace of Justice. No bomb was found. Police say they are yet to determine why, how, and by whom the decoys in the city centre were made.
The lower house of parliament has approved a government proposal to get a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the completion of the D8 motorway, connecting the Czech Republic with Germany. The 12 billion crown loan would cover sixty percent of the cost of construction and is to be paid back within 25 years' time. The cabinet hopes to sign the loan contract with the EIB in September. The government proposal is yet to be approved by the senate and signed by the president.
Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda confirmed on Thursday that European conservative leaders picked EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten as their candidate to become the next head of the European Commission. Mr Svoboda is currently at the EU summit in Brussels, where the European constitution and a successor to Commission President Romano Prodi in November are the main topics on the agenda.
The country's public television station, Czech TV, has been fined 100,000 crowns for running commercials longer than granted by state law. According to the law, Czech TV can be fined between 5,000 and 2.5 million crowns if it runs commercials for over one hour a day. The Czech Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, which imposed the fine, says commercials ran 29 seconds past the limit on February 2.
Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Kolar will not be heading the United Nations mission in Kosovo, as proposed by the Czech Republic. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has named Danish official Soren Jessen-Petersen as chief of the UN mission instead. Mr Jessen-Petersen succeeds former Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri, who resigned for health reasons amid ethnic tensions in the Serbian province administered by the UN for the past five years. The choice of Jessen-Petersen, a lawyer and journalist by training who worked for the UN High Commission for Refugees in Africa in the 1970s, was seen as a surprise.
Prague's famous Laterna Magica theatre will be part of the cultural programme launching this year's summer Olympic Games in Greece. From August 8, it will hold performances on three nights in the town of Volos, which will be hosting the football matches.
Friday is expected to have overcast skies with day-time temperatures reaching a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius.
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