In a TV discussion programme on Sunday, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said the Czech Republic's representative in the European Commission should be a former government minister, the minimum age for a judge should be raised, and took the opportunity to sharply criticise the state of the economy. Speaking on TV Nova's Sedmicka programme, Mr Klaus said the growth of the Czech economy was too slow because it was over-regulated and added that businesses and entrepreneurs should not have to face a much higher taxing system than those in neighbouring countries.
Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka hopes to reduce the state budget deficit to 100 billion Czech crowns by 2005 from the 115 billion that has been approved for this year. In a TV Prima programme on Sunday, he said the government plans to lower the deficit gradually to reach 100 billion Czech crowns next year, and go well below that figure by 2006. The government should be successful if its public finance reform plan is met, Mr Sobotka noted. But according to Vlastimil Tlusty from the opposition Civic Democrats, the state budget deficit will still be too high to meet the requirements for the adoption of the Euro. The Maastricht Treaty criteria that governs entry to the currency union allows a deficit no higher than 3% of the GDP.
Helena Ruzickova, one of the country's most successful actresses is dead. Mrs Ruzickova, who fought a two-year battle against cancer did not wake up from her sleep in a hospital in the town of Pilsen, south-west Bohemia, on Sunday morning. She was 67 years old. Mainly in light comedies, she has starred in more than 60 films, including the 1983 comedy "Sunshine, Hay and Strawberries". She has enjoyed much popularity despite her appearance in Communist propaganda productions such as "The Most Beautiful Age" and "All Good Countrymen", and her trying for the post of Senator as a communist in 1996. Her latest movie is to be released in two weeks.
Seventy-six local authorities from around the country, representing 150,000 Czech citizens, have signed a document against plans to build an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste between Chanovice and Pacejov, near the town of Pilsen in south-west Bohemia. The major of Chanovice said on Sunday that the petition expects to get the support of 250,000 Czechs by mid-January, mostly residents of all the six areas considered by the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority, SURAO, as potential sites for the future repository. On Saturday, 150 people from various parts of the Pilsen region held a protest march across the territory between Chanovice and Pacejov to express their opposition to the plan.
Monday is expected to have cloudy skies with occasional snow throughout the country. Day-time temperatures are forecast between -3 to -7 degrees Celsius.
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