Daily news summary News

15-10-2004

German president would welcome gesture towards Sudeten Germans

The German president, Horst Kohler - in Prague for a one-day visit on Friday - said he would welcome a gesture from the Czech Republic towards Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. Mr Kohler added, however, that it was not his place to interfere or put forward demands. Meanwhile, his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus said it was a purely Czech matter. Last month the Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, said he was in favour of a "humanitarian gesture" towards the Sudeten Germans.

Draft budget for next year passed in first reading

The government's draft budget for 2005 has been passed in the first reading by the Chamber of Deputies. The budget envisages a deficit of 83.6 billion crowns. Ninety-nine of the 194 deputies present for Friday's vote supported the draft budget. Further debate on the proposed budget will take place later this year, after it has been discussed in detail by various Chamber committees.

Amendment would increase sentences for violent crimes

An amendment to the Czech Republic's Criminal Code has been passed by the Chamber of the Deputies in the first reading. The bill is primarily aimed at increasing sentences for violent crimes, and would also criminalize cloning, euthanasia and not providing help at the scene of an accident. It would make terrorism a specific crime carrying a sentence of up to twenty years.

Points system for bad drivers rejected

A bill which would introduce a points system to punish drivers who break the law was rejected by the Chamber on Friday. The issue of how to tackle dangerous driving has received considerable attention in the Czech Republic, which has one of the worst road death rates in Europe.

Czech Airlines to acquire European-made Airbus planes

Czech Airlines is to acquire 12 European-made Airbus planes between 2006 and 2008. The head of CSA, Jaroslav Tvrdik, said on Friday that the airline had managed to get a better deal than expected from Airbus, who defeated United States company Boeing in the tender. Czech Airlines will pay 10 to 12.5 billion crowns for the planes in a leasing deal which will be completed in 2020.

Prison terms for Slovaks trying to sell uranium on black market

Two Slovak men have received prison sentences from a court in Brno for attempting to sell uranium on the black market. Juraj Vagassky, a former Slovak Army officer, was given a ten-year sentence, while Peter Moravcik got an eight-year term after the two were caught trying to sell three kilogrammes of uranium in a hotel in the town last year.

Woman dies after falling under Prague tram

An elderly woman died after being hit by a tram in Prague on Friday. The woman, who was 78, lost her balance and fell in front of the tram. She died immediately of head injuries.

Jerry Lee Lewis plays first ever concert in Czech Republic

American rock'n'roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis played his first ever concert in the Czech Republic on Thursday night. The artist nicknamed the Killer, who is now 69, played for just 45 minutes at Prague's Lucerna hall to an audience that included President Vaclav Klaus.

Weather

Saturday is expected to be cloudy with rain in places. The maximum temperature should be 11 degrees Celsius.

15-10-2004