President Vaclav Klaus has officially announced that a referendum on whether the Czech Republic should join the European Union will be held on Friday June 13 and Saturday June 14. It will be the first referendum in the country's history and will be preceded by a large advertising campaign in support of membership. If the referendum is passed the Czech Republic is expected to join the EU on May 1, 2004.
A Czech military field hospital in the southern Iraqi city of Basra has treated its first patients. Relatively few patients visited the hospital however, as Friday is a day of prayer for Muslims. The hospital is being guarded by British forces in control of Basra. Deputy Defence Minister Jaroslav Skopek said on Friday that the hospital would be working at full capacity by May 6.
The Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, has discussed the post-war situation in Iraq and bilateral relations with his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, in Moscow. Mr Svoboda said the Russians had been particularly interested in the Czech decision to send a military field hospital to Iraq. He also said Czech President Vaclav Klaus would be attending celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of the foundation of St Petersburg in May, when he will also hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
President Klaus is not planning to mark his recent appointment by issuing an amnesty, his spokesman said on Friday, adding that while Mr Klaus regarded amnesties as important it would not be appropriate to issue one now. The president said before he was elected that he would not use his powers of amnesty or pardon to interfere in the legal system and frequently criticised his predecessor Vaclav Havel for doing so.
Sparta Prague football club have been fined 100,000 crowns by the Czech football association for the racist behaviour of their fans during a recent match against city rivals Slavia. Sparta fans booed the black Brazilian striker Adauto during the derby and also chanted anti-Semitic slogans, despite the fact that club officials tried to get them to stop.
Seventy refugees from Chechnya asked for asylum at the Czech-Polish border crossing of Cesky Tesin on Friday, a police spokesperson said. The latest group brings the total number of Chechens who have applied for asylum in the Czech Republic since the middle of last week to 550. The Chechens have complained of poor conditions at camps in Poland and believe they have a greater chance of being granted asylum in the Czech Republic.
A 28-year-old woman has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for throwing her one-year-old son to his death from a third-floor window. Ostrava Regional Court heard on Friday that the woman had thrown her son out the window in an attempt to punish her husband for frequently coming home drunk.
Saturday should be warm with a maximum daytime temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. It will be cloudy with rain in places.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”