Daily news summary News

20-06-2004

The embattled Czech Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla, will remain Social Democrat party chairman for at least one more week

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla will remain chairman of the Social Democrats at least until the party's next central committee meeting, to be held on this coming Saturday, when he and other party leaders face a no-confidence motion. Although the junior parties in the ruling coalition, the Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats, have said they will remain in the government, Mr Spidla has come under fire from regional party leaders to step down as chairman. The Social Democrats were routed in the European Parliament elections held the last weekend, placing fifth overall, and popular support for the coalition government has plummeted in recent months. Before Social Democrat party leaders decide on his fate, Mr Spidla may face a vote of confidence in the parliament.

A man and his toddler son drowned on Saturday while on a fishing trip

A 25-year-old man and his three-year-old son drown on Saturday afternoon after their canoe capsized while they were on a fishing trip near the Moravian town of Dubnany. Two other children in the boat at the time were rescued. The man had tried to swim the 50-metres to shore with his son holding onto his back, but both disappeared under the surface. Police have yet to recover the bodies. The young boy's grandfather managed to help the two older children to safety. According to the police, over 240 people drowned in accidents in the Czech Republic last year.

Czech football team defeats the Dutch, become first to qualify for Euro 2004 quarterfinals

The Czech national football team on Saturday night staged a second-half comeback to beat the Dutch side 3:2. It was the Czech sides' second win in a row and the Czech Republic have become the first to qualify for the quarter-final round of Euro 2004, the European football championship games now underway in Portugal. The Czech squad conceded two goals to the Netherlands in the first half of the match, but rallied with goals from strikers Jan Koller and Milan Baros to equalise. Then, in the 88th minute, Vladimir Shmicer scored again and the Dutch were unable to respond before the clock ran out. At the time of the third goal, the Dutch side was playing with just 10 men after a player was sent off for a red card foul. The Czech team will face Germany on Wednesday in their last match in the group stage of the Euro 2004 championship. After a dismal 0-0 draw with Latvia on Saturday, Germany need to beat the Czech Republic to guarantee themselves a place in the knock-out stages.

After two rounds, the current Group D standings are as follows:

Czech Republic - 6 pts Germany - 2 pts Netherlands - 1 pt Latvia - 1 pt

Brewery offers Czech football coach free beer for life if squad wins Euro 2004

In related news, the Czech Republic football coach Karel Bruckner has been offered free beer for the rest of his life if his team wins Euro 2004. The Bernard brewery is offering him 60 litres of beer per year - the equivalent amount an average Czech drinks annually -- as an incentive to bring the football trophy home. Each player on the Czech squaw will receive 160 litres of beer for one year if they win the final.

Prague is No. 2 weekend-break destination for Britons

Prague is hot on the heels of Paris as the top weekend-break destination for Britons. Eleven percent of Britons are set to head for Paris over the coming months, according to a new survey by Morgan Stanley Credit Card, the British press association reports that the French capital narrowly clung onto its position as Britons' preferred city break destination. It is closely followed by Prague, where 10 percent of the 2,000 people interviewed said they intended to go in the next three months. Architecture, palaces and cheap beer were cited as some of the top attractions that entice visitors to the Czech Republic's capital city. Prague was the only Eastern European city to make the survey's Top Ten.

Weather

Monday should be warm and overcast, with scattered showers likely, and a maximum temperature of 23 degrees Celsius.

20-06-2004