Daily news summary News

23-09-2004

Chancellor Schroeder rejects compensation claims of German post-WWII expellees

The German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has rejected compensation calls from Germans driven out of Czechoslovakia and Poland at the end of World War II. In an interview for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Chancellor said that there were no legal grounds for a settlement - either from abroad or from Germany. "There will be no domestic settlement" Mr. Schroeder told the paper "because that would mean that we would have to abandon our legal position that there should be no claims for reparations from either side". The Czech CTK news agency says this is a radical change in Germany's position on the issue. Previous governments always maintained that the expellees' compensation claims were "open to debate".

Kajinek will not get new trial

A court in the West Bohemian city of Pilsen has ruled against re-opening the case of Jiri Kajinek, the country's most notorious prisoner, who is serving a life sentence for double murder. The judge said that Mr Kajinek's lawyer had not presented any new evidence that would justify a new trial. Mr Kajinek was served a life sentence in 1998 for the murder of two men, but he has always pleaded innocent of the crimes and insists that he was framed by the police. He can still lodge a complaint against the decision with the High Court in Prague.

Four Iraqi children arrive in Prague for heart operation

Four Iraqi children suffering from serious heart problems arrived in Prague on Thursday to undergo surgery. The three boys aged between four and five and a one-year-old girl were each accompanied by their father. The patients were selected for treatment by Czech doctors who worked in the Czech military field hospital in Basra, southern Iraq, last year. Given their serious heart defects, the four children would not have survived in Iraq without appropriate help. The children are the last from Basra to be treated at the Czech government's expense in Prague and their treatment will cost about 5 million crowns (160,000 euros). A total of 22 Iraqi children have already been brought to the country and operated on at Motol hospital. The plane in which the children arrived on Thursday also brought back to Prague 37 Czech military police officers who had ended their mission in Iraq.

CEZ says still hopes will take over Slovenske elektrarne

The Czech power producer CEZ said it still hoped to succeed in purchasing a 66-percent state-held share in the Slovak power utility Slovenske elektrarne. The Slovak Economy Minister Pavol Rusko should submit his proposal to the cabinet on Friday or early next week. The cabinet will then decide on the winner of the tender. Two weeks ago a steering committee recommended Italy's Enel with a bid worth 840 million euros as the winner ahead of CEZ with 690 million euros and Russia's Inter RAO with 547 million euros. Slovenske elektrarne controls over 85 percent of Slovak power production. It runs three nuclear and two thermal power stations and 34 hydroelectric power sources.

Parliament approves tax relief for families with children

The Lower House of Parliament has sent into its second reading an income tax bill that introduces joint taxation for married couples and tax relief for families with children. If the bill makes it through both houses of Parliament, families with children can expect an annual discount of six thousand crowns per child. The Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the bill envisaged the biggest tax cuts for families with children in Czech history.

Weather

Friday should be overcast and rainy with daytime temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists warn of local floods in mountainous areas in South Bohemia.

23-09-2004