News

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Nine new countries ready to join Schengen zone

Nine new EU countries are ready to join the Schengen zone of free travel on 21st December, according to the Prague Declaration, a document adopted by interior ministers and other representatives of EU countries who met in Prague on Friday. The declaration says that the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia are well prepared for abolishing border checks on their frontiers with other Schengen zone members, and enter the free-travel area on 21st December this year. This conclusion was also confirmed by a report by an evaluation committee overseeing the introduction of an information system that was published in Brussels on Friday. Some old Schnegen zone members, such as Austria, are however considering policing their borders with the acceding countries even after this date.

President Klaus to present awards on Foundation of Czechoslovakia anniversary

President Vaclav Klaus will award distinguished Czech personalities on the 89th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. The ceremony will take place at the Prague Castle on Sunday. According to the daily Lidove Noviny, the distinguished figures to receive the Order of Tomas Garrigue Masasaryk, the Distinguished Service Medal and other decorations include Anna Honova, an anti-communist resistance fighter, Marie Goretti Boltnarova, a member of the catholic order of Sisters of Mercy, Second World War veteran Stanislav Hnelicka who fought the Axis armies at Tobruk, and visual artist Old"ich Kulhanek who designed the currently used Czech banknotes.

Army intelligence warns against of North African, Middle Easter soldiers

Czech Army's intelligence service have warned the Chamber of Deputies' defence committee against training of soldiers form some North African and Middle Eastern countries. In a report to the committee, the service claim that the presence of military personnel from countries such as Algeria, Afghanistan and Iraq might pose a serious threat to the Czech Republic's security. Military intelligence fear that the contingent could be infiltrated by terrorists.

About 50 soldiers from Northern African and Middle Eastern countries are to be trained at a military training area near Vyskov, South Moravia, under British command.

First session held of 'Team National Library'

A team of experts that will decide on the construction of a planned new National Library building had its first session in Prague on Saturday. The team had been set up to overcome the controversy over the new building that is to be constructed on Prague's Letna plain. The team includes Prague Mayor Pavel Bem, National Library director Vlastimil Jezek, and architect Jan Kaplicky, who designed the new building popularly known as the Blob. Its critics claim that the design will disturb the city's skyline, and does not fit the historic environment of Prague.

Four high-ranking army officers accused of fraud

Four members of the Czech Army's General Staff have been accused of fraud, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported. They are suspected of paying unauthorized bonuses to themselves. The fraud was discovered during a regular inspection, and one of the accused officers has been arrested. Among the officers facing the accusations is also Major-General Ivo Zbo"il, the formed chief of the Military Office of Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

Supermarket evacuated in Ceske Budejovice

Around a hundred of people had to be evacuated from a supermarket in Ceske Budejovice, South Bohemia, on Saturday due to a fire. The roof of the shopping venue caught fire at around 10 AM but the fire did not get inside the mall. It took five fire-fighting units an hour and a half to deal with the emergency and put out the flames. Nobody was injured at the incident.

Czech Railways will cancel express fees

Czech Railways are considering abolishing the extra fee that have to be purchased when travelling on EuroCity and InterCity trains. As of not, passengers on these international expresses have to pay 60 crowns, or 3.2 US dollars, on top of their regular tickets. The change will come into effect together with the new timetable on 9th December.

Czech worker killed in Germany

One Czech and two Slovak nationals died on Thursday at a construction of a power plant in Grevenbroich, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The men were working on scaffolding that was pulled down by parts of the construction that had collapsed. Another four Czech workers were injured in the accident, three of them seriously.

Male killer nurse accused of seven murders, ten attempts

The police in Jihlava have concluded the investigation of male nurse Petr Zelenka who faces accusations of committing seven murders and ten attempted murders in a hospital in Havlickuv Brod, eastern Bohemia. Mr Zelenka, who was working at the hospital's intensive care unit, killed seven patients between May and September 2006 by giving them lethal doses of anticoagulants.

Daylight saving time ends

Clocks in the Czech Republic as well as in the rest of Europe will shift back by 60 minutes at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning that marks the end of the daylight saving time. The time change will affect transportation schedules; in the Czech Republic, 12 international trains will stop at train stations for the extra hour.

Weather

It is expected to be overcast and foggy over the weekend with occasional drizzle and rain, especially in Moravia. Temperatures should range between 8 and 10 degrees Centigrade.