The government has been meeting to debate next year's budget. The final draft of the budget proposal envisages a deficit of 118 billion crowns, a figure opposition parties say is too high. Budgets for individual ministries have already received provisional approval, though ministers are expected to put up a fight for an extra 11 billion crowns which have yet to be allotted.
The minister of defence, Miroslav Kostelka, said on Wednesday that compulsory military service for young men could end as soon as next year. However, the minister said 2005 was more likely or, at the very latest, 2006. Mr Kostelka, who was appointed in June, on Wednesday presented his ideas for reform of the military to different ministries. On Thursday he is due to put the proposals before the Chamber of Deputies' defence and security committee.
President Vaclav Klaus is leaving for a private visit to the United States on Thursday, the daily Pravo reported on Wednesday. Mr Klaus's first stop is expected to be Tennessee, where he will speak at the University of Tennessee. There has been no suggestion that the president will visit Washington. Earlier this year a difference in opinion over Iraq with the US ambassador to Prague, Craig Stapleton, led to strained relations between Prague Castle and the White House. Recently Mr Stapleton said the Czech president would be invited to the US on an official visit next year.
Usti nad Labem Regional Court has ordered that a woman who shot her way into a local radio station be taken into psychiatric care. Vladimira Sebestova injured a DJ at the station and also shot at two other employees during the incident, which took place in May.
A Prague taxi driver drove over a police officer's leg on Tuesday when the officer was carrying out a routine patrol, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. When the officer asked the taxi driver for his documents the latter drove at him and then drove over his leg. The incident is being investigated.
A 56-year-old farmer was crushed to death by a herd of bulls in the Orlicke hory mountains on Tuesday. Police said on Wednesday they were investigating the incident, in which another man was injured.
Thursday should be a sunny day around the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 26 degrees Celsius.
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