The Czech prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, is in Brussels for a summit to decide the shape of the European Union's first constitution. Among the issues to be discussed are voting powers, the number of commissioners and national vetoes on foreign, defence and taxation policy. The Czech Republic is one of ten, mostly ex-communist countries set to join the EU next May, in what will be the biggest enlargement in the Union's history.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Deputies on Friday passed a bill allowing Czech nurses, midwives and other health workers to work in the European Union. The bill, which has to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president, also allows for health workers from other EU states to work in the Czech Republic.
The Chamber of Deputies has launched a campaign against pawn shops which deal in stolen goods, passing a bill on Friday under which shopkeepers would have to ascertain the identity of clients. The bill's proponents said there were 1,800 pawn shops in Prague alone, many of which are open around the clock.
A bill was also passed on Friday allowing the building of two weirs on the Elbe River in north Bohemia, despite protests from the environment minister, Libor Ambrozek, and environmental groups. Mr Ambrozek said the building of the weirs would damage the eco-system in the areas in question and was in contravention of EU norms.
Canada has accused steel companies in the Czech Republic and other countries in the region of selling their products in Canada at dumping prices, the newspaper Lidove noviny reported on Friday. The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has imposed provisional duties on types of steel which it says are sold at prices not corresponding to their true production costs.
A 65-year-old pensioner who wrote to the mayor of Prague, Pavel Bem, threatening to put cyanide in Prague's drinking water has been given a five-year suspended sentence by a court in the capital. Friday's ruling followed a case recently in which two young men received seven and eight-year prison terms for threatening to put cyanide in food in Prague hospitals.
Sparta Prague have drawn last season's winners AC Milan in the next round of football's Champions League, which begins in February. The only Czech club in the UEFA Cup, Teplice, are due to play last season's finalists Glasgow Celtic.
Saturday is expected to see rain in many parts of the Czech Republic. The maximum temperature should be nine degrees Celsius.
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