Daily news summary News

19-03-2004

Government to establish expert group to revise anti-drug policy

The government is to establish an expert group to revise the state's anti-drug policy, Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek told reporters after talks late on Thursday. His party, the second biggest in the governing coalition, has made the fight against drugs one of its key policies. Mr Kalousek said his proposal that no distinction be made between soft and hard drugs had been accepted by the coalition partners.

Government drug policy not effective, says expert

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prague's Drop In centre, which helps drug addicts, has said that most of the measures proposed by the government in its fight against drugs would not prove effective. Drop In's Ivan Douda said on Friday dividing drugs into different categories was standard practice around the world.

New EU countries agree on need to maintain ceiling on expenditure in budget

The Czech finance minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and representatives of eight other new European Union countries agreed at a meeting in Bratislava on Friday that the current ceiling on expenditure in the EU budget should be maintained. The officials also said conditions set in the stability and growth pact should not be loosened. The Czech Republic is one of ten countries joining the EU on May 1.

Former Komercni banka managers under investigation for fraud

Five former managers of one of the Czech Republic's biggest banks, Komercni banka, are being investigated for fraud, police said on Friday. The five are accused of helping Austrian businessman Baraka Alona defraud the bank of over a billion crowns between 1996 and 2000. Nine former members of Komercni banka's board of directors have been under investigation for fraud of eight billion crowns, also involving Mr Alona, since May 2001.

Counterfeit goods seized in raids on outdoor markets

Goods worth around 17 million crowns were seized by police and customs officers in raids on three outdoor markets in west Bohemia on Thursday. Among the goods seized were counterfeit compact discs and fake name-brand clothing. Materials used in the production of counterfeit goods were also seized during the raids, a police spokesman said on Friday.

Fish killed after chemical leak from house

Hundreds of fish were killed when an as yet unidentified chemical leaked into the water system near the east Bohemian town of Nachod on Friday. The chemical is believed to have come from a house in the area and criminal charges against the owners are being prepared, a spokesman for the local authority said.

Skier Neumannova receives cheque, still waiting for medal

The Czech Olympic Committee has presented cross country skier Katerina Neummanova with a symbolic cheque for 200,000 crowns for the silver medal she won at the 2002 Winter Olympics but has not yet received. The skier won the medal after a Russian skier who finished ahead of her was disqualified for drug-taking. However, the Russian has not yet returned the medal and Ms Neummanova has not been given a replica by the International Olympic Committee. Ms Neummanova had been given 300,000 crowns for coming third, while 500,000 is the reward for second place.

Czech conductor-composer Vilem Tausky dies after over 60 years in UK

The respected Czech conductor and composer Vilem Tausky has died in Britain at the age of 93. Mr Tausky is regarded as the most successful exponent of Czech music in the United Kingdom in the second half of the 20th century. At the height of his career, during the 1950s and 60s, he appeared with all of the major British opera companies and symphony orchestras.

Weather

Saturday should be cloudy with rain or showers in places, with strong winds expected in some parts of the country. The maximum temperature will be 15 degrees Celsius.

19-03-2004