5,100 polling stations have closed in neighbouring Slovakia after two days of voting to decide whether that country will join the European Union; however, the results will only be known on Sunday. About four million eligible Slovak voters had the opportunity to vote in the nation-wide referendum, but media sources are speculating that the turn-out may have been lower than the 50 percent required to validate referendum results. Among those who took part EU support is reportedly high, around 70 percent. Slovakia is among ten candidate countries widely expected in join the European Union in 2004. In the Czech Republic citizens will have the opportunity to go to the polls to decide EU accession next month, on Friday, June 13th, and Saturday 14th.
The condition of a sixty-three year-old Czech psychiatrist, who suffered a deadly attack by one of his patients earlier this week, is improving doctors say. A ten hour operation on Friday was able to stabilise the man's condition: the man had received deep slash wounds to the head and hands by machete. Earlier reports that had stated that doctors had had to amputate in the case were unfounded. The 63 year-old psychiatrist now awaits still more surgery: doctors will have to assess whether or not he suffered brain damage in the attack. On Friday police took the assailant into custody, and charged the man with attempted murder. If found guilty of the attack the suspect could face up to 15 years in jail.
Police have charged a tram driver with gross negligence resulting in the death of a police officer last year, struck down while investigating an accident scene on a Prague bridge. The 25 year-old female officer suffered multiple injuries after being struck by the tram and died later in hospital. Police have ruled out alcohol as a factor in the tram driver's actions. A district attorney will now decide whether the man's case will go to court. If it does, and if a court finds the driver guilty, he could face two years in prison.
Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said that returns generated by additional taxes under the government's public finance reform plan could see an additional 20 billion crowns fill public coffers for next year's state budget. The finance minister expressed the hope on Saturday that the government's proposal would be passed, saying that a failure to pass reforms would see the budget deficit grow to 190 billion crowns, which Mr Sobotka called "unacceptable". The finance minister stated it was his goal that next year would see a lower state budget deficit than in 2003.
Czech race car driver Tomas Enge withdrew from the second stage of the Cesky Krumlov rally in south Bohemia on Saturday, after losing control of his vehicle and crashing early in the race. Enge was driving a Ford Focus WRC and was in ninth place after the first day. Overall leader Roman Kresta, driving a Peugeut, who was enjoying a lead of over a minute, also had to pull out on Saturday after suffering problems with his vehicle's transmission.
In light of Radio Prague's Czech service broadcasting live celebrations of Czech Radio's 80th anniversary this Sunday, we will not be broadcasting our English programme from 2000 - 2027 UTC on 5930 kHz and 11600 kHz., i.e. in N.W. Europe, S.E. Asia and Australia.
Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy with a chance of showers. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of about 20 degrees Celsius.
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