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Vladimir Spidla to be responsible for employment, social affairs in EU Commission

The incoming European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday unveiled the line-up of the new EU executive, which will take office in November. The former Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla will be responsible for the employment, social affairs and equal opportunities portfolio. Aside from Mr Vladimir Spidla himself, the new commission will include two other figures who have served as prime minister, Jose Manuel Barroso himself and Estonia's Siim Kallas. The full team will need to be approved by the European Parliament in October before it can take office on November 1.

Czech flag hoisted in Olympic village

The Czech mission has officially become part of the Olympic village in Athens. At 5:20 pm local time, the Czech flag was raised in the international zone of the village to the sound of the Czech national anthem. Present at the ceremony were President Vaclav Klaus and Education Minister Petra Buzkova, as well as the Czech athletes about to compete in the games. The last time a Czech head of state visited the Olympics was in 1980.

Injured mountaineer in stable condition

The Czech mountaineer who suffered injuries in Kyrgyzstan last week has been transported to the Czech Republic. Five Czech mountaineers died last Thursday as they were hit by an avalanche when climbing a peak in the Tien Shan Mountains. Doctors say Ales Mrna's health condition is now stable but he needs rest to recover from his injuries. The bodies of three victims of the disaster have already been repatriated. Mountain rescuers in Kyrgyzstan say they were unable to recover the two remaining bodies due to severe weather conditions and increased avalanche risk.

Police arrest gang of people traffickers

Police in South Bohemia say they have arrested seven human traffickers who transported Chinese migrants to Italy via Austria. The gang managed to smuggle 28 people to Italy and for their services they charged 250,000 crowns (8,000 euros). If convicted the gang members face up to four years in prison. The number of people who illegally crossed the Czech-German and Czech-Austrian borders this year has almost doubled compared to last year's figures.

99 Czechs out of 100 own mobile phone

According to reports by mobile phone operators, the number of active mobile phones in the Czech Republic has exceeded 10 million in the first half of 2004. Since last year, the number of mobile phones has increased by one million. Currently, there are 99 mobile phones per 100 inhabitants in the Czech Republic. In the first six months of this year, Czech customers spent almost 34 billion crowns (1 billion euros) for mobile phone services. Experts say the market has been almost saturated and by the end of this year there will be one mobile phone per every citizen. According to estimates, the actual number of users is by some 20 percent lower, as some people own more than one SIM card.

Man receives five years in prison for AIDS infection threat

The Prague High Court has sentenced a 31-year-old man to five years in prison for having threatened to inject a former colleague's daughter with an AIDS-infected syringe and cause environmental damage to the company Cepro, their former employer, unless he received 120 million crowns. The court consequently lessened the original sentence issued by the Prague City Court by three and one-half years, on the grounds that the sum demanded was unrealistic, and that the aggressor "did not undertake any further steps towards the fulfilment of his threats."


Friday is expected to be partly cloudy and rainy and also much cooler than the previous week, with daytime temperatures around 23 degrees Celsius.