EU Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said on Saturday that the Czech Republic may look forward to an early admission into the European Union.
Speaking at a Czech-German discussion forum in Brno, he said, however, that Czechs ought to show more determination in their bid to join the EU, because European integration is the best thing that has happened to Europe this century.
The Brno conference is attended by over 150 politicians, analysts, academic, lawyers and students.
Leaders of the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party on Saturday said in Prague that in just 16 months, their minority government had succeeded in overcoming a deep economic crisis for which they blamed the right-of-centre previous cabinets.
The Social Democrats vowed to continue a policy which would prevent the rich getting richer and the poor growing poorer.
Personnel of the Czech field hospital which has operated in the earthquake-stricken Turkey were on Saturday awarded army medals in a ceremony at their home base in the east Bohemian city of Hradec Kralove.
The hospital was originally dispatched to Albania six months ago, to serve with the AFOR mission. When a devastating earthquake struck Turkey in August, the personnel were sent to action near the town of Izmit at the epicentre of the tremors.
The Mexican machinery group NEMAK is planning to set up its European headquarters in the Czech city of Plzen and is planning investments there initially amounting to 30 million dollars.
The news, disclosed during Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan's current visit to Mexico, said NEMAK plans to set up a factory to produce engine parts for Opel car plants in Hungary and Austria. Investments of 30 million dollars over the next two years would create around 200 jobs.
If business develops favourably, the Mexican company will be planning a further 100 million dollars in investments. NEMAK is 80 percent-owned by the Alfa Group of Mexico and the remaining 20 percent is owned by the U.S. carmaker Ford.
There were angry verbal exchanges but no violence in Ostrava on Saturday as skinhead and anarchist groups clashed in the city's main square.
Both camps limited themselves to fiery speeches, with the nationalists attacking President Vaclav Havel and the anarchists fiercely protesting.
The city had deployed about 200 riot police but no incidents were reported.
More than 100 voluntary blood donors on Saturday received high awards from the Red Cross in Prague. Some of the awardees have donated blood more than 160 times.
In a written message, President Vaclav Havel noted that anyone who decides to donate blood sets an example of highly ethical behaviour.
And finally, the weather report.
Sunday will be a wet and cloudy day in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs between three and seven degrees Celsius, cooling to slightly below freezing at night.
On Monday and Tuesday, a high pressure area over this country will bring us some drizzle in the morning hours, night-time lows around zero, and daytime highs between two and six Celsius.
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