The Czech Republic has reported its eighth case of BSE, or mad cow disease. On Friday, the State Veterinary Authority said a four-year-old cow from a herd in the south Moravian village of Velke Nemcice was suspected to have been infected with the disease. According to State Veterinary Authority spokesman Josef Duben, further tests will be carried out and the results are expected to be ready by the end of next week. If confirmed, it would be the country's third case in the course of a month.
The Czech Finance Ministry is currently working on a proposal to prevent citizens who owe the state from holding important positions in businesses. In an interview for Czech Radio on Friday, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the bill would prevent those entrepreneurs who declare their businesses bankrupt and owe the state from opening new ones. Mr Sobotka added such a government step was fair and violated neither the Czech constitution nor basic human rights.
Residents of the villages of Nadejkov, Bozetice, and Prestenice, South Bohemia, will hold a referendum on Saturday on a government proposal to build an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste at a nearby site. This would be the Czech Republic's first ever referendum on nuclear waste. Similar referendums are planned in five other communities in areas also considered as potential sites for the future repository. At present, nuclear waste of the country's two power plants at Temelin and Dukovany is stored at the plants. However, the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority, SURAO, hopes to dispose of the waste at a safe place by 2010.
The country's public television station, Czech TV, has said it lacks seven hundred million Czech crowns for next year's budget, and programme quality will suffer as a consequence. Czech TV management said on Friday that the station needed some 1.6 billion crowns in total for 2004. Despite introducing austerity measures, which include laying off 300 employees and a decrease in production, it has a budget of just 900 million crowns for next year. Czech TV management added that the quality of its programmes would suffer greatly, if license and advertising fees are not raised.
The Polish oil group PKN Orlen SA announced on Friday it has made an offer to buy 68 percent of the Czech oil company Unipetrol. According to the PAP news agency, a PKN top executive said the company was able to pay for the stake on its own but would welcome partners as well. PKN executives were furthermore reported to have said they were looking for increased cooperation with Hungary's oil group MOL. A joint bid can therefore not be ruled out. Unipetrol, which is to be privatised, has an estimated market value of 350 million euros.
Saturday is expected to have early morning fog with partially clear skies and temperatures reaching a maximum of seven degrees Celsius.
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