The Czech Central Bank has called the recent record-breaking strengthening of the Czech crown "an anomaly" on the exchange market which has forced the adoption of a stricter monetary policy that could have a destabilising effect on the Czech economy. On Thursday morning the Czech crown briefly weakened in anticipation of possible intervention by the Central Bank but returned to the level of 30 crowns 20 hellers per Euro by early afternoon. Intervention by the bank finally weakened the crown to 30 crowns 70 hellers per Euro later in the day. Overall the Czech crown has now strengthened by 11 percent against the Euro in its year-on-year rating, which is far above the 4 percent the Central Bank sees as an acceptable rate.
Around two hundred Palestinians and members of Prague's Arab community have demonstrated on Prague's Wenceslas Square. The demonstration began at noon on Thursday, with those taking part shouting slogans against Isarel and its Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Demonstrators from the Arab community were joined by members of the Czech Communist Party in a show of solidarity. The demonstration, which lasted for almost two hours, was monitored by Czech police, who ended-up taking a lone man into custody for allegedly provoking demonstrators and infringing on their protest rights. The demonstration ended without further incident.
Speaker of Parliament Vaclav Klaus has given the green light for an up-coming amendment to the election law which would make it easier to tabulate results soon after polls in the Czech Republic close on June 15th. The amendment, which has gained wide support in parliament, would allow Czech nationals abroad to begin casting their votes a day early, to make-up for time-zone differences. That would make it possible to release early exit polls on election day soon after voting in the Czech Republic had ended.
Slovakia's State Veterinary Board has passed a ban on the importing of Czech beef and livestock which will come into effect on Friday, in response to the Czech Republic's decision to ban Slovakian beef and livestock yesterday. The Czech State Veterinary Office made the decision in the wake of newly confirmed cases of mad cow disease in Slovakia, while Slovakia's decision is clearly a political response. Aside from implementing a ban on Czech livestock and beef, Slovakia's State Veterinary Board has also tightened restrictions on the importing of Czech pork and poultry.
A Czech court in Pilsen has rejected an appeal by the last living Czech legionary from World War I, 106 year-old Alois Vocasek, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1946 for crimes against the state, crimes which included membership in the Fascist organisation Vlajka, and informing for the Gestapo. However, Mr Vocasek, who served nine years in prison before receiving amnesty in 1954, maintains that he is innocent. The 106 year-old former legionary has put forth an official complaint which will see his case transferred to a high court in Prague.
Specialists are preparing to examine a third boiler removed from the ruins of a hotel which collapsed in Louny on Monday, killing six Polish citizens. Police investigating the collapse had already said that the most likely cause was an explosion, and the third boiler, now removed, is highly suspect. The object has already revealed evidence of mechanical damages, but it will be some time before it is determined whether a mechanical malfunction led to the blast.
An American stuntman has been killed while filming at the Palacky bridge in Prague, after his paraglide collided with one of the bridge's columns on Thursday. An emergency crew at the scene of the film "Triple X" tried to revive the man but was unsuccessful. Meanwhile, the film's American producers have issued an embargo on information related to the tragic incident, forbidding film crew members from communicating with the media. Czech police have begun investigating possible causes of the accident, including the possibility of mechanical failure or negligence.
Thursday evening will see clear skies with temperatures falling between 3 and -1 degrees Celsius.