Daily news summary News

09-12-2004

British Law Lords rule British immigration checks at Ruzyne were discriminatory

The UK's highest court institution has ruled that British government regulations that prevented some Czechs - namely Romanies - from travelling to Great Britain in 2001 were discriminatory on racial grounds. The Law Lord's verdict concerns controls which were carried out by British immigration officials at Prague's Ruzyne airport in July 2001 in an effort to lower the number of those seeking asylum in Britain. In 2002, the British human rights organisation Liberty lodged a complaint against the checks on behalf of six Roma and the European Centre for Roma Rights. A lower level court and Great Britain's Supreme Court originally rejected the complaint.

In response to the latest ruling, the British Home Office has replied it had not meant to discriminate against anyone, adding that the measures in place at the time were meant to prevent abuse of the asylum and immigration system.

Five Czech soldiers dead, one missing, following collision

Five Czech soldiers have been killed in a collision between their army truck and an oncoming express train. The accident took place at a crossing near Prostejov, east Moravia. All five men belonged to the Czech Special Forces unit based in the region. A sixth soldier remains missing. Five other military personnel, as well as two civilians, were also injured in the accident: three are in critical condition.

CEZ averts arbitration by agreeing to pay compensation

The Czech power utility CEZ has agreed to pay compensation to the French company Dalkia after it pulled out of an agreement in 2000 that would have seen the companies set up of a joint-venture to operate in the Czech Republic. Dalkia had filed for arbitration in Paris earlier this year, estimating the damages at almost 19 million euros. A CEZ spokesman has said that the compensation offered was one third lower than that amount, but did not name the exact figure. He also said that the two companies also signed an agreement officially terminating the dispute.

Senate rejects ban on hospitals' conversion to business firms

The right-of-centre dominated Senate has voted against a bill banning hospitals run by regional governments from being turned into business companies, which the Social Democratic Party recently pushed through the Chamber of Deputies.

The Chamber will now have to vote on the bill again.

The balance of forces in the Lower House indicates it could override the Senate and push the bill through a second time. However, it would then still have to be signed by President Vaclav Klaus. Supporters of the ban say it defends the availability of balanced health care, while critics contend it interferes in regional governments' authority.

Czech footballers Rosicky & Koller to take part in all-star match

Czech football stars Tomas Rosicky and Jan Koller, who both play for Germany's Borussia Dortmund, have been invited to take part in an upcoming all-stars game set to take place in Madrid. Proceeds from the charity match, which takes place on Tuesday, will be used to help against famine in Africa. The match has been organised by two of the best footballers in the world, French mid-fielder Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian star Ronaldo.

Weather

Cloudy weather is expected over the coming days with maximum temperatures hovering at -1 degree Celsius.

09-12-2004