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Cabinet approves referendum bill

The Czech government has approved a proposal for a new constitutional law that would allow ordinary citizens hold referendums on important internal and foreign state policy. Under the bill, a referendum could not be held on issues that question constitutional principles and fail to respect the country's international obligations. Citizens would, however, be able to vote on the European constitution, which has to be ratified by all EU member states before October 2006. In order to be passed, the bill has to be supported by 120 of the 200 deputies in the lower house and three fifths of Senators.

Skoda Auto to double production in India

The Skoda Auto car manufacturer plans to double production at its plant in the Indian town of Aurangabad and export to Bangladesh this year. Skoda Auto is based in the central Bohemian town of Mlada Boleslav but is now owned by Germany's Volkswagen Group. Skoda has already invested 100 million euros in the Indian plant. It is the manufacturer's only plant outside Europe and currently produces some 15,000 vehicles a year.

Supreme Court rejects appeal of convicted serial killers

The Supreme Court has confirmed the life sentences for two Czechs dubbed as the biggest serial killers in the country's history. Jaroslav Stodola and his wife Dana beat, tied up, robbed, and strangled pensioners and other helpless victims. They were found guilty of eight counts of murder, several counts of theft and other criminal offences by a district court last year.

Parliament may lift total ban on animal testing of cosmetics

Czech MPs are considering lifting the total ban on animal testing of cosmetics. A government public health bill, which has also been approved by parliament's health committee, allows testing in what it calls 'exceptional' cases. An example would be if there is strong suspicion that the cosmetic in question is hazardous to our health. The lower house is expected to vote on the bill this month. The health ministry opposes the bill saying it fails to respect a ban by the European Parliament, on the manufacture and sale of all cosmetics and ingredients tested on animals, which is expected to come into effect in 2009.

Czech crown hits new high against Euro and US dollar

The Czech crown hit a historic high against the US dollar of 21.90 crowns on Wednesday. It also reached a 2.5 year high against the euro when it stood at 29.29 to the single European currency. The Czech National Bank said on Wednesday it was considering intervening against the strong crown.


The next few days should see partially clear skies with day-time temperatures between -4 and 0 degrees Celsius, reaching a maximum of six degrees Celsius at the weekend.