Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has dissolved the Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting following Wednesday's lower house vote recommending the move. The broadcast authority was widely criticised in the wake of an arbitration ruling in which the Czech Republic has to pay over 10 billion crowns to the Bermuda-based company CME for failing to protect its investment in Czech commercial TV station Nova. According to the Council's member Petr Stepanek, the body does not regard its dismissal as legally binding.
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, who is on a two-day state visit to Poland, his second foreign trip as Czech President, has met his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski and parliament leaders in Warsaw. Mr Klaus and Mr Kwasniewski agreed that the war in Iraq should end as soon as possible and with the lowest possible number of casualties. The two presidents also talked about their countries' future membership of the European Union and the forthcoming referendums on joining the EU.
An explosion demolished a phone booth in the eastern city of Olomouc on Thursday. No one was injured in the blast which also shattered the windows of a nearby house. According to a police spokeswoman, police have detained a man suspect of planting the explosive.
Four of the 400 members of the Czech chemical weapons battalion currently stationed in Kuwait were agents of the communist military counter-intelligence VKR before 1989, Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik told reporters on Thursday. One of the four is the unit's psychologist and spokesman Ludek Lavicka. Members of the battalion met at the Camp Doha base on Thursday afternoon and decided to give their colleagues a vote of confidence. According to Minister Tvrdik, the soldiers in question have met all qualification requirements and are not deployed in posts subject to the screening law or security vetting which is necessary for handling secret data of higher degree.
The Health Minister Marie Souckova has said that none of the 17 patients suspected of having contracted the dangerous SARS pneumonia have proved to carry the virus. However doctors will continue monitoring the patients, including two children, who have been hospitalised in recent days for pneumonia-like symptoms resembling those of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the Health Minister told reporters. The Czech Foreign Ministry is recommending that Czechs delay non-essential trips to Singapore, Hanoi, Hong Kong and parts of China.
Police have discovered the body of a missing 8-year-old boy from the village of Maly Ratmirov in South Bohemia. The discovery followed three weeks of anxiety in the area, where hundreds of rescue workers and volunteers spent days searching for the child. The boy disappeared on March 14 and many villagers, including his parents, feared that he had been kidnapped. An autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of death. But experts have agreed the boy may have simply fallen through the ice and drowned in the pond, just 50 metres from his home.
Friday is expected to be overcast and rainy with maximum daytime temperatures around 8 degrees Celsius.
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