Daily news summary News

23-10-2004

Police diffuse explosive devise in the centre of Prague

The upper end of Wenceslas Square was closed off for several hours on Friday after the police found a fully functional explosive device outside a nightclub. According to experts it was the work of a professional, and posed a serious danger. It was placed in the very centre of Prague where thousands of people pass daily. The police say it was immensely fortunate that a passer by noticed the abandoned plastic bag placed next to one of the night club's limousines and alerted the police. It is not clear whether the terrorist attack was directly aimed at the Darling Cabaret nightclub. Its owners say they have received no threats of any kind. The incident comes just three months after a grenade explosion injured 18 people outside a casino in Prague's Prikopy street.

Police bug President's friend

The police allegedly tapped the phone of a close friend of President Klaus, listening in to some of his conversations with the head of state. According to Saturday's Lidove Noviny the police bugged entrepreneur Ranko Pecic, for at least three months, enabling them to listen in to his phone conversations with the President but also with the Civic Democratic Party leader Mirek Topolanek. According to the paper, a Prague court approved the tapping.

These revelations come just hours after President Klaus asked the interior minister to consider sacking the police president for some ill-advised remarks he made with regard to phone tapping. In connection with the investigation of an alleged bribery case in which the police tapped the phone of at least one high placed politician, the police president noted that tapping of private phone conversations was a normal police practice which did not infringe on people's rights and should not bother citizens as long as they are innocent.

Czech Republic slams Lukashenko regime

The Czech Republic has sharply criticized Belarus for manipulating a referendum that gives President Lukashenko the possibility of ruling indefinitely. It was a victory achieved by crude manipulation of both public opinion and the referendum results, a Czech foreign ministry statement says, noting that Lukashenko's regime had again missed an opportunity to improve relations with the democratic world. The Foreign Ministry said it would continue to provide support for Belarusian democratic forces.

Czech Republic, Denmark support EU accession talks with Turkey

The Czech and Danish prime ministers have said that if Turkey fulfils EU criteria it should be admitted to the European Union. During talks in Prague on Friday, the visiting Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he expected the December EU summit would give the start of accession talks with Turkey the green light. However the start of accession talks does not automatically imply admission at the end of the road, the Danish Prime Minister said, noting that Turkey would be under close scrutiny in meeting EU norms.

Weather:

Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

23-10-2004