Daily news summary News

19-10-2004

Court acquits member of Russian skinhead band of neo-Nazi propagation charges

A Prague court has acquitted Russian national Denis Gerasimov, the singer of a neo-Nazi rock group, Kolovrat, of propagating neo-Nazism in the Czech Republic. Mr Gerasimov was remanded in custody in January after officials found neo-Nazi propaganda in his suitcase as he prepared to depart from Prague's Ruzyne airport.

Mr Gerasimov's rock band, accused of promoting racism, had performed at the weekend at a skinhead concert in east Bohemia.

But, on Tuesday Judge Katerina Kohoutkova said the court had not found Mr Gerasimov guilty on any of three counts, including the singing of racist lyrics during live performances.

The prosecution has already appealed Tuesday's decision; Denis Gerasimov will remain in custody for the time being.

Czech and Norwegian foreign ministers sign mutual understanding agreement

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and his Norwegian counterpart Jan Petersen signed a mutual understanding agreement in Prague on Tuesday that will see the Czech Republic receive around 65 million euros, or 2 billion crowns, in funds over the next five years. The finances are meant to be divided among smaller projects not covered - or not covered fully -by EU structural funds, including protection of the environment and historic sites, improving human resources, and financing research projects and health care.

The conditions for drawing money are to be similar to those that guide funds in the European Union: with funds being divided up by the Finance Ministry. It will be possible to submit first project proposals in November.

Norway's contribution follows a provision through which more well-off states in the European Economic Area contribute financially to economically weaker countries in the European Union. Norway itself is not a member of the EU.

Ispat Nova Hut to offer workers as much as 25 months of severance pay

The steelmaker Ispat Nova Hut, looking to trim its workforce, will offer workers who leave voluntarily before December as much as 25 months of severance pay. The company expects about 1,000 workers to take advantage of the offer. The owner of the steelmaker, LNM Holdings, has committed itself to trimming the workforce at the Ostrava-based steelworks by about 2,000 workers in total in order to compete with Western European companies in terms of productivity.

Car, train collision leaves one dead, one seriously injured

A collision between a car and a train at a railway crossing in the south-east Moravian region of Vyskov left one dead, one seriously injured on Tuesday. The accident took place in the afternoon at a crossing that featured warning lights but no gate, allowing the car to drive through. Railway officials said the warning signal was in operation.

Manchester United 0 Sparta Prague 0

A feisty Sparta Prague drew with Manchester United in Prague on Tuesday night in a match that saw impressive opportunities for both sides. Man United started strong with efforts by Wayne Rooney and John O’Shea, but the home side had chances as well, especially from Lukas Zelenka, who shot wide, and former Man United player Karel Poborsky, who was dangerous throughout the night.

Poborsky cleared a late fitness test to take part in the game, giving Sparta an added bite. The draw gave a valuable point for Sparta but the home side needed to win to have any real chance of going through to the next round in the Champions League.

Weather

Wednesday is likely to be overcast with showers and cool daytime temperatures between 7 and 9 degrees Celsius.

19-10-2004