Former Czech president Vaclav Havel has been honoured in Berlin. On Wednesday he was awarded a prize by the German National Foundation for 2003, for his services in helping to improve German-Czech relations, European integration, and conditions on human rights. The prize given to Mr Havel is worth 100,000 euros. In his acceptance speech the 66-year-old former president said his goal had always been to steer a steady course of reconciliation between the West and the East while defending his nation's interests. Among those in attendance at the special ceremony on Wednesday was German President Johannes Rau. The German National Foundation which awarded Mr Havel the prize, was first set-up by former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1993.
On Wednesday the Czech cabinet approved the government's goal of cutting the public finance deficit to four percent of the GDP in 2006, but left the details of sweeping reforms for further debate. Finance Ministry spokesman Radek Nemecek told the Reuters news agency the government had approved the aim of lowering the deficit from a record high of 6.2 percent of the GDP this year as the country prepares for eventual euro adoption. He said the government would discuss the details of the plan further next week. Public finance reform is the main goal of the centre-left government now that it has successfully seen through the referendum on EU accession. However, debate on the issue is likely to challenge the durability of Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla's ruling coalition. Rightist forces within the cabinet want to reign in spending, while senior partners the Social Democrats are looking to widen the welfare state.
A high court in Prague will hear a state prosecutor's appeal in the legal case against former Communist dignitaries Milous Jakes and Jozef Lenart on Thursday next week. The two men were accused of treason for their actions in connection with the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, including allegedly trying to help set-up a framework that would have legalised the occupation by Warsaw troops. Both, Mr Jakes and Mr Lenart
were cleared by a Prague district court last September. Next week's hearing is expected to take just one day; the proceedings will be open to the public.
Seven people were evacuated from their home in a three-story house in Liberec, north of Prague, on Tuesday, after a part of an overhanging cliff collapsed on the building. Although no one was injured fire-fighters were called in to help with evacuations. They searched a courtyard and the alley behind the building, where a greater part of the cliff had fallen, causing no harm.
Croatian authorities have revealed a Czech tourist was killed in a para-gliding accident near the seaside city of Pula, Istria on Tuesday. The Czech national, identified as 31 year-old Robert Krisek, succumbed to injuries after crashing some 30 metres to the ground, shortly after takeoff. The accident is being investigated to determine the exact cause of the crash.
Tickets for the a key qualifying match in Prague for the European football championships in 2004 sold out in the space of just a few hours on Wednesday. The match will see the Czech national side face off against the Dutch. Currently the Czechs are ahead of Holland on goals, atop their group for qualifying directly to the Euro championships, which will be held in Portugal in 2004. The match between the Czech Republic and Holland, set for September 10th, will take place at Prague's Sparta stadium. 20,000 are expected to attend.
Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy with rainy periods. Daytime temperatures should reach about 23 degrees Celsius.
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