Daily news summary News

23-03-2004

Klaus offended by chairman of Christian Democrats in European Parliament

Vaclav Klaus has criticised the chairman of the Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, for statements he made after the Czech president cancelled a meeting with him while he was on a visit to Prague. Mr Poettering told Czech and German journalists that such things would only happen in a dictatorship. Mr Klaus has written a letter of protest to Mr Poettering, the president's spokesman said on Tuesday. Mr Klaus, who is sceptical about European Union integration, said such behaviour would not give an encouraging signal to the Czech public or politicians as the country prepares for imminent accession to the Union.

Nine presidential pardons granted

Meanwhile, President Klaus - who is currently on an official visit to Portugal - has granted pardons to nine people, among them a young man who killed his aggressive and bullying father. The pardons have been granted on humanitarian grounds, the president's spokesman said on Tuesday. Mr Klaus has pardoned 16 people since being appointed just over a year ago. He had previously been critical of the number of pardons granted by his predecessor, Vaclav Havel.

Police arrest gang accused of smuggling Chinese people into Europe

The police have arrested a gang of nine Czechs and other nationals who they say organised the smuggling of Chinese people into Europe. The arrests followed co-operation with police in Italy, Germany and Austria. During the time the gang were under surveillance they smuggled around 800 people through the Czech Republic, a police spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Czech among victims of multiple killing in Germany

Police in Germany have said a Czech man was among the victims when five people were killed in a Turkish family's home in the town of Augsburg. The Czech, who was 26, was lodging temporarily with the family. An international arrest warrant for a Turkish man has been issued in connection with the killings.

Polish police release three suspected of planning attack on Czech Embassy

Polish police have released three men suspected of planning terrorist attacks on the Czech Embassy and other targets in the Polish capital Warsaw. The street where the city's Czech Embassy is located was marked on a map found in the flat of the three men, two Palestinians and a Ukrainian. A spokesperson for the Czech Embassy said on Tuesday that there was no evidence the three had been planning a terrorist attack.

Usti region handing out leaflets in effort to combat child prostitution on border

The Usti nad Labem regional authority has begun handing out leaflets in German alerting tourists who cross the border from the neighbouring state of Saxony of the fact that child prostitution is a crime. Regional governor Jiri Sulc took part in the campaign on Tuesday, handing out leaflets at a border crossing, the website Novinky reported. The German branch of UNICEF published a report in November saying the Czech-German border region was rife with child prostitution, though Czech authorities say it is not a common problem.

Hasek to get off with fine for in-line hockey attack

The Czech ice hockey player Dominik Hasek is likely to escape with a fine after attacking an opponent in a game of in-line hockey last May. According to press reports, Mr Hasek will not appear in court in connection with the incident, because investigators say it was not a crime but a misdemeanour.

Staropramen follow Pilsner Urquell in raising beer prices

The Prague brewery Staropramen is to increase the prices of its draught and bottled beer by around 6 percent from next month, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. The price rise follows a similar move by Pilsner Urquell earlier this month. Since the year 2000 Staropramen has been owned by the Belgian group Interbrew. It has a 14 percent share of the Czech beer market.

Weather

Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with some rain or even snow in highland areas; weather forecasters have warned of snow-drifts in some places, as well as rising river levels. Temperatures on Wednesday are due to range between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.

23-03-2004