As of Friday, the Czech Republic will have a new president, as Vaclav Klaus, who was elected last Friday by a two-vote majority in parliament, will be inaugurated at Prague Castle. Vaclav Klaus will be the second president in the history of the Czech Republic and the tenth head of state since 1918 when independent Czechoslovakia was founded. Before the ceremony, Vaclav Klaus will lay a wreath at the memorial of the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, on the 153rd anniversary of President Masaryk's birth.
The lower house of the Czech parliament has approved a bill on the covering of the state budget deficit for this year with an issue of state bonds worth 106.48 billion crowns while the rest of the deficit will be covered from long-term foreign loans and from state financial assets. The lower house approved the state budget for 2003 last December, with a deficit of 111.3 billion crowns.
A young man angered by what he called "the evil generally tolerated around the world" burned himself to death on Thursday morning on Prague's Wenceslas Square. The 19-year-old student Zdenek Adamec from the eastern town of Humpolec doused himself with petrol and set himself alight near the memorial to Jan Palach, a student who immolated himself in 1969 in a protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Adamec mentioned Palach in his suicide note, which he addressed to "all citizens of the world" and posted on the Internet. He said he was upset about the prospect of war in Iraq, environmental decay and even violence in cartoons.
The Interior Ministry plans to release the complete lists of people who cooperated with the communist secret police, the StB, on March 20. The ministry's spokeswoman said the lists would appear as a printed publication and also on the ministry's website. The printed version will be available for free at the ministry. A law passed last year obliges the ministry to publicise the list of secret police confidants. An unofficial version, known as "Cibulka's list", was released in the early 1990s.
The second reactor at the nuclear power plant in Temelin was shut down on Wednesday night due to a leakage in the non-nuclear part, a spokesman for the power plant said adding that it will take about a day to repair it. The reactor's output first reached 100 percent of capacity on Monday morning. The power start-up of the second reactor began in June 2002 and should be completed in a month.
Friday is expected to be cloudy and rainy with snow showers in higher altitudes. Daytime temperatures should range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius.
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