A court in Prague has ruled that St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle is church property. The Church and the state have been fighting over ownership rights for some thirteen years. A 1954 government resolution gives Prague Castle the authority to manage the cathedral and surrounding property but the judge who ruled in favour of the church reasoned that the transfer of management did not automatically imply a transfer of ownership. The state plans to appeal her verdict.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has called for a meeting with the heads of the country's two leading commercial TV stations Nova and Prima. Both stations commission opinion polls during TV discussion programmes to assess what participant is considered more trustworthy among the general public. Results of a poll on a discussion between Mr Paroubek and the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats Mirek Topolanek last Sunday suggested that the prime minister only won over 36 percent of respondents. Mr Paroubek says a separate poll commissioned by his party, the Social Democrats, suggested over 50 percent of public support and accuses the TV stations of "a scandalous attempt to manipulate public opinion".
And staying with the media. The Czech section of the BBC World Service is to be closed down. The decision was made to cut costs and save money for a new project - the launch of an Arabic TV news station. Nine other foreign language services are to be discontinued. The Czech section started its broadcasts 66 years ago in 1939. It announced on Tuesday that it would close down by March 2006.
The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats have called for a special meeting of the lower house of parliament to discuss its proposed restitution bill. Put forward in July, the bill pushes back the deadline by which people, who have a right to ask the state to return their property, make their claims. They currently only have until the end of the year. The Civic Democrats, who propose to push the deadline back to December 2009, argue the current law gives those affected little time to make their case and no chance to apply for compensation.
Some 27,000 people have signed a petition that calls for a detailed investigation into a police intervention in a techno party last July that left several ravers and police officers injured. The petition was presented to Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday, who has openly criticisd the amount of force used. A government report concludes that the police intervened in CzechTek rightfully. The head of the presidential office welcomed the petition, saying public pressure to force an investigation had died down and needed a fresh boost.
The next few days are expected to have partially cloudy skies with occasional showers. The mild day-time temperatures will continue until the end of the week, reaching up to 18 degrees Celsius.
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