Daily news summary News

23-08-2004

President Klaus vetoes bill on European arrest warrant

President Klaus has vetoed a bill on the European arrest warrant. The bill would have made it possible for Czech citizens to be extradited to other EU countries to face trial. The President said that to pass such a bill would mean to hand over a part of the country's sovereignty and its right to protect its citizens. The bill was introduced in some EU states for the first time last year. It is designed to tackle the problem of cross-border crime within the European Union.

Coalition government faces confidence vote

The Lower House of Parliament is to meet on Tuesday to discuss the government's policy agenda, ahead of a confidence vote in the new administration. Since neither of the two opposition parties are expected to support the government, the coalition will have to rely entirely on its own deputies. Although at present two Social Democrat deputies are in hospital they are expected to be in their benches for the vote itself. With all coalition deputies present the new administration has a slim majority of 101 votes in the 200 seat Lower House.

Bribery scandal

The Speaker of the Lower House Lubomir Zaoralek has called a meeting of all parliamentary party leaders, ahead of Tuesday's debate. They are to discuss a scandal which erupted in Parliament last week when Freedom Union deputy Zdenek Koristka accused the opposition Civic Democrats of offering him a ten million crown bribe to bring down the government in Tuesday's vote.

Mr. Koristka said later he was not the only one approached and he urged other MPs with similar experiences to speak out. The incident has resulted in counter accusations levelled against the Social Democrats, and the Civic Democrats say they will file charges against Mr. Koristka for allegedly spreading lies about them. The Speaker of Parliament said the accusations were a serious blow to Parliament's credibility and should be thoroughly investigated.

Sulc to become head of government's office

Ales Sulc, the current head of the interior ministry's security department, is to replace Pavel Pribyl as head of the government's office. Pribyl was forced to resign from the post due to growing public pressure when it emerged that in 1989 he commanded a riot police unit sent to break up anti-communist protests in the streets of Prague. Ales Sulc is a former dissident and signatory of the Charter 77 human rights manifesto. Mr. Sulc has confirmed that he accepted the Prime Minister's offer on Friday. His appointment has yet to be approved by the government.

Police arrest youth who beat up doctor

The police have arrested a youth who beat up a doctor called out to attend to an intoxicated man. The emergency medical team was called out to attend to a man who had allegedly collapsed but when they arrived on the spot they found a group of highly intoxicated men - with the alleged patient being merely very drunk. When they were getting back into the ambulance one of the men - a 19 year old - attacked the doctor and smashed the ambulance window. A night watchman who arrived on the scene and attempted to help was injured in the face by bits of flying glass. The doctor suffered concussion and a broken nose. There have been several cases of doctors and ambulance personnel attacked by drunks since the beginning of this year.

Weather:

Tuesday is expected to bring partly cloudy skies and day temperatures between 25 and 29 degrees Celsius.

23-08-2004