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Czech report Czech report
by Euro Reporter
2011-12-21 08:34:08
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Czech Republic says euro entry date on hold

Czech authorities said Thursday the country would not seek entry into the ERM II mechanism, the two-year waiting room for eurozone candidates which pegs their currencies to the euro. "The Czech National Bank and the finance ministry have recommended not to fix a target euro adoption date and hence not to seek entry into the ERM II mechanism in 2012," the institutions said in a joint statement. They added that the Czech Republic's compliance with the euro adoption criteria was in doubt for the nearest future as the country's inflation is likely to rise above the limit following an increase in sales tax next year.

Besides, the central European country of 10.5 million is struggling to comply with the 3.0-percent ratio of the public deficit to gross domestic product (GDP). The state budget for 2012, passed by lawmakers on Wednesday, reckons with a public deficit of 3.5 percent for next year. The country's centre-right government, bent on austerity, expects to cut the deficit, covering the budgets of the central government, welfare systems and local authorities, to 2.9 percent in 2013 and 1.9 percent in 2014. But the future is uncertain given the ongoing debt crisis and the sharply deteriorated growth outlook in the eurozone.

"We cannot conclude that we have reached sufficient progress creating conditions for euro adoption that would allow us to fix a target date for eurozone entry," the central bank and finance ministry said. The finance ministry expects the Czech economy to grow by 2.1 percent this year and slow down to 1.0 percent in 2012, following 2.7-percent growth in 2010. The Czech Republic is obliged to join the euro under the terms of its 2004 EU entry agreement, but there is no deadline for the move and Prague has said several times it is not planning to adopt the euro in the near future.


Czech state mourns former President Václav Havel

The Czech Republic is bidding farewell to Václav Havel. At an extraordinary cabinet session, the Czech Government decided that a three-day state period of mourning will begin on Wednesday and end at the close of Friday. The funeral march will take place on Wednesday, when the coffin bearing the remains of the former president will be transported to the Vladislav Hall at Prague Castle using the same gun-carriage that transported the remains of the first president of an independent Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. The state funeral of the first-ever Czech President will take place on Friday at noon in St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle. The Czech Republic will honour the memory of former President Václav Havel during a three-day period of official state mourning beginning Wednesday and ending at the close of Friday. Flags will be flown at half-mast on all public buildings. On Friday at noon, the Government will recommend all citizens observe a minute of silence in honour of Havel's memory. The Government will also propose that the Czech Parliament adopt a special law underscoring the fact that Havel was responsible for the existence of the state. Speaking after the brief cabinet session, the Prime Minister said the law will record the fact that the former president was responsible for democracy and freedom in the country. The Slovak Government announced slightly before the Czech Government that Slovakia will also hold an official day of mourning for Havel on Friday.

The coffin bearing the former president's remains will be transported to the Vladislav Hall at Prague Castle using the same horse-drawn gun-carriage that transported the remains of the first president of an independent Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. High state officials and representatives of Czech public life will gather for a memorial service in the historic hall, which is only used on state holidays. Czech President Václav Klaus will deliver the eulogy. The funeral march route will be lined with a total of 600 soldiers, according to the general staff. The public will be able to follow the march from Hradčanské náměstí and from the first and second courtyards of Prague Castle. Radim Ochvat of Prague Castle has also announced that large outdoor screens will be erected in the second courtyard and on Hradčanské náměstí for a live broadcast of the memorial service in Vladislav Hall.

The funeral organizers are making every effort to model the paying of respects to the former head of state along the lines of First Republic traditions. The Czech Philharmonic will perform in Vladislav Hall on Wednesday and has cancelled its concert schedule in honour of the official morning period. The march will include standard-bearers carrying the historic banners from the days of the Legionnaires during the First World War, the First Republic, and the Second World War. The march will also include 18 military banners representing present-day units of the Czech Army, designs that were bestowed upon the soldiers by Havel during his presidency. The funeral procession will depart at 8 AM from the Prague Crossroads centre for the Castle. After crossing the Vltava over the Charles Bridge, the procession will enter the Castle grounds through the Gate of the Titans and proceed across the first, second and third courtyards to the Ancient Royal Palace.


'Star Wars' religion rises in Czech Republic

A “Star Wars” faith, Knights of the Jedi, seems to be gaining traction. According to CzechPosition.com, the results of the Czech Republic's new census show that 15,070 citizens claim Knights of the Jedi as their religion. Another 1.08 million people identified as Catholics on the survey, while 4.8 million respondents didn’t list a faith.

According to the Knights of the Jedi website, its adherents believe in the intangible energy made famous by the "Star Wars" films. The Force, they explain, is "an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together."

Additionally, the site points out that the idea behind The Force "is a concept that most religions of the world concur with. Some refer to it as their deity, some refer to it as a life force, but the one thing nearly all religions agree with is that there exists a single unifying force." The Czech Republic isn’t the only country to boast followers of the “Star Wars” faith. According to Time, Great Britain and New Zealand also list the Jedi Church on formal surveys. Over 390,000 Britons said that they practiced the religion in 2001.

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April2011-12-24 09:21:01
well....i like the report...

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