Coalition parties reach agreement on budget deficit

The three parties in the governing coalition have reached agreement on the framework for next year's budget. At a meeting on Thursday morning party leaders agreed to cut the proposed budget deficit from 93 to 84 billion crowns. The original figure was above the limit set by the European Commission in its convergence programme. The cut is expected to hit social benefits.

All three mobile operators fined over cartel agreements

The Czech Anti-monopoly Office has fined the country's three mobile phone operators a total of 44 million crowns (almost 1.5 million euros) for cartel agreements. A spokesman for the Office said Thursday the operators had signed illegal agreements on direct network interconnection without using a third operator.

Youth second person charged with killing of elderly priest

A 15-year-old boy has been charged over the recent killing of an elderly priest in Trebic, south Moravia, police said on Thursday. He and a 26-year-old man stand accused of the killing, which is said to have occurred after the priest caught them attempting to rob his parochial house. Police say the two then set fire to the scene of the crime in an effort to cover their tracks.

Member of Qatar's royal family charged with sex abuse in Prague

A member of Qatar's royal family has been arrested in Prague on charges of sexually abusing underage girls, the Czech Press Agency reported Thursday. Two young women suspected of providing the Qatari royal with girls aged between 12 and 15 have also been arrested. The accused, who has been a businessman in the Czech Republic for the last ten years, does not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

President Klaus appoints Ivana Janu to Constitutional Court

President Vaclav Klaus has appointed Ivana Janu to the Constitutional Court. The 58-year-old lawyer previously served on the Court for eight years and has also been a member of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Hague.

Prague Castle reception for Olympic medal winners

On Thursday the president also met all the Czech athletes who won medals at the recent Olympic Games in Athens. Mr Klaus thanked them for representing the country in an exemplary manner, and wished them continued success in the future. The Czech Republic took one gold, three silver and four bronze medals in Athens.

More Iraqi children coming to Prague for heart operations

Four more Iraqi children with serious heart defects are to arrive in Prague to undergo operations at the city's Bulovka teaching hospital next week. The children have been selected by Czech doctors working at a British field hospital in Basra. Some 20 Iraqi children have already undergone heart surgery in the Czech capital.

Bookmakers backing Havel to win Nobel Peace Prize

An Australian bookmaker, reportedly the first taking bets on the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, has said former Czech president Vaclav Havel is its favourite to win. Bookies Centrebet are giving 4-1 odds on Mr Havel being awarded the prestigious prize, though he has often been named as a potential winner in the past.

Year behind bars for man who stole, killed, ate dog

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison by a court in the north Bohemian town of Teplice for stealing, killing and eating a dog, TV Nova reported on Wednesday evening. It was the toughest sentence for the abuse of animals in the history of Czech justice, the station said.

Jagr to play for 'home' club Kladno during NHL strike

With the beginning of the ice hockey NHL season delayed due to a players' strike, Czech star Jaromir Jagr is planning to turn out for his old team Kladno. Jagr, who is 32, is currently injured, but has been training with the Czech Extraliga club.

Sparta Prague beaten in opening game in Champions League

Sparta Prague lost their first game in this season's Champions League away to Fenerbahce on Wednesday night. Sparta, who were without experienced midfielder Karel Poborsky, were beaten 1:0 by the Turkish club. Elsewhere in the competition, Pavel Nedved scored for Juventus before leaving the field injured, and Milan Baros got a goal for his club Liverpool.

Viktoria Zizkov punished over match-fixing affair

The Czech football association has penalized Prague club Viktoria Zizkov for its involvement in a scandal in which referees were bribed to influence games. The club, relegated from the first division last season, has been fined half a million crowns and will be docked 12 points at the end of the season. A number of referees and delegates have also been punished in connection with the affair.


Friday should be a sunny day in many parts of the country, with a maximum temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.