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PM backs Government Office head

Prime Minister Stanislav Gross says he will not sack the new Government Office head Pavel Pribyl following revelations that in 1989 he had allegedly headed a police unit that was sent to break up anti-communist protests in the streets of Prague.

Speaking on Czech television on Sunday, the new Prime Minister rejected calls for Pribyl's resignation and defended the new Government Office head, saying that he was too young in 1989 to have been given any real power. The unit he was in was merely being trained for the job, Gross told TV viewers, describing the campaign against Pribyl as "instrumental". The Prime Minister said he was satisfied with the fact that Pavel Pribyl had received a negative screening certificate from the interior ministry, meaning that he had not in any significant way collaborated with the communist regime.

About 50 well know personalities have signed a petition calling for Pribyl's resignation. They are planning to stage a protest outside the Czech government building on Tuesday morning, when the Cabinet is due to meet for its second session.

Austrian Environment Ministry says Prague has not violated Melk agreement

The Austrian Environment Ministry has distanced itself from the Austrian Green Party's claims that the Czech Republic is not adhering to a bilateral agreement on the Temelin nuclear power plant. Austrian Green Party leader Rudi Anschober accused the Czech side of withholding information regarding problems at the plant and said the Czech Republic was violating the terms of the so called Melk agreement under which it had committed itself to alert Austria -via a hot line - about any problems at the plant. In a statement for the APA news agency the Austrian Environment Ministry said it had no cause for complaint. The hot-line is functioning as it should - a spokesman said, adding that the two problems at the plant reported last week were proof of this. As regards the plant's recent problems with a turbine, which Mr. Anshober was clearly referring to, those are not problems in the plant's nuclear sector, they pose no risk, and are therefore not relevant, the ministry's spokesman said.

Police arrest 6 members of international crime ring

Czech police have arrested six members of an international crime ring which is active in central and Eastern Europe. The gang is believed to be responsible for six brutal murders and a number of bank robberies to the tune of 100 million crowns. One of the arrested was reportedly a female paediatrician from Belarus. The gang members were arrested in Liberec, North Bohemia and Brno, South Moravia. The Polish authorities had been searching for them for over three years.

Twelve year old collapses after drinking binge

A twelve year old boy was rushed to hospital with alcohol poisoning on Saturday night after collapsing at a Prague discotheque. The boy was found by police during a regular ID check at several night clubs and discos. He was so drunk he had passed out and we had to carry him out, one of the officers said. In the course of that night the police found 24 underage youngsters drinking at bars and discos. Two of them had to be taken to hospital for treatment, another six were badly drunk. All of them were out drinking late at night without their parents' knowledge. Police say this is a growing problem in the big cities.


Monday should bring clear to partly cloudy skies and day temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.