Daily news summary News

17-07-2004

President Klaus lays flowers at controversial Benes bust

President Vaclav Klaus laid flowers at the busts of Czechoslovak presidents T.G. Masaryk and Edvard Benes in the courtyard of a hotel in the southern town of Cesky Krumlov. The bust of president Edvard Benes has been at the centre of criticism from the part of some Sudeten German groups and politicians from Upper Austria. Benes, who was president before and after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia during World War II, issued a set of decrees that led to the post-war expulsion of some 2.5 million ethnic Germans. Mr Klaus is spending two nights at the hotel at the invitation of its owner.

Former Social Democrat chairman meets Communist Party leaders

The former prime minister and chairman of the Social Democrat party, Milos Zeman, met the leader of the opposition Communist Party, Miroslav Grebenicek, and the head of the Communist parliamentary party, Pavel Kovacik on Friday. A spokeswoman for the Communist Party said that their discussion focused on the current political situation in the Czech Republic. Mr Zeman declined to comment on the meeting which he described as private. At the moment, the acting chairman of the Social Democrats, Stanislav Gross, is trying to put together a new coalition government together with the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. Mr Gross says he does not want to rely on the support of the Communist Party.

Central European interior ministers refuse common border protection

The interior ministers of six Central European countries, including the Czech Republic, agreed on Friday that they would not support the creation of special European Union police units meant to guard the external borders of the union. The Czech Interior Minister, Stanislav Gross, who chaired the meeting in the Austrian town of Fuschl am See, said none of the countries of the Salzburg Forum supported the idea of a European border police force. He added that the protection of the external borders should remain in the competence of individual states with a certain degree of solidarity in sharing expenses. The Salzburg Forum includes the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary. During their annual meetings the interior ministers of these countries seek, among other things, to find a common stance on security policies.

Pravo: RFE/RL to move out of Prague centre by end 2007

According to Saturday's edition of the daily Pravo, the United States will finance the construction of a new headquarters for the radio station Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. The radio station is due to move out of the former Czechoslovak parliament building in the centre of Prague mainly for security reasons. The Czech Foreign Minister, Cyril Svoboda, who discussed the issue this week in Washington, told Pravo that the station's new headquarters will be built at a location with minimum security risks for both Czech citizens and employees of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Mr Svoboda also said that the US Secretary of State Colin Powell had confirmed the US commitment to move Radio Free Europe from the centre of Prague by the end of 2007.

Customs officers raid open-air market in search for alcohol and cigarettes

Thirty customs officers and five inspectors from the Czech Trade Inspection have launched a surprise raid on the largest open air market in the Czech Republic, in Potucky near the western town of Karlovy Vary. They are searching mainly for illegal stocks of alcohol and cigarettes. The customs officers are going to stay at the site for the next few days monitoring the market with approximately 2,000 mostly Vietnamese stall keepers. The sale of alcohol and cigarettes at open-air markets was banned in January this year.

Weather

Sunday should be another hot and sunny day with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 30 degrees Celsius.

17-07-2004