Daily news summary News

26-04-2005

Azerbaijani officials block Nazarov's departure for Prague

On Tuesday officials in Azerbaijan blocked its citizen Saday Nazarov from departing for Prague from Baku's airport, even though Mr Nazarov enjoys political asylum in the Czech Republic and has a valid refugee passport. Mr Nazarov, a former government advisor in his home country, was first detained in Azerbaijan in January - charged with "high treason". He had travelled to his homeland to visit his father, who was seriously ill. Mr Nazarov's return to the Czech Republic was expected Tuesday when it was planned he would meet with Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda. The Foreign Ministry has expressed hope that his case will now be resolved and that Azerbaijani officials will allow Mr Nazarov to return to Prague in one day's time.

Kavan: five Social Democrat MPs remain undecided over government

Social Democrat MP Jan Kavan has told Czech Radio he knows of "around" five Social Democrat members of parliament who may choose not to support the new government led by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. The government must face a confidence vote within 30 days. Mr Kavan told Czech Radio that he and colleague Vladimir Lastuvka would vote in favour of the new government if the Social Democrats were allowed a greater hand in foreign policy. But currently the Foreign Ministry falls under the jurisdiction of the Christian Democrats. The new prime minister, aware of Mr Kavan's and the other MPs' reservations, reminded them that if the current government fell it would lead only to early elections.

Police admit - for first time - child prostitution in Cheb not as isolated as previously thought

Police in the west Bohemian region of Cheb have admitted for the first time that cases of child prostitution in the area are more widespread than previously revealed. Detective Jiri Istavnik told public broadcaster Czech TV that police in the area had investigated 7 cases of sexual abuse of minors by visiting tourists since 1997. Police also cited 60 cases in which youths' moral upbringing had been put under threat. Last week the subject of child prostitution again made headlines after a German television reporter from Pro 7 taped secret footage of a 12-year-old girl being offered for sexual favours. Until now police in Cheb had denied child prostitution in the area had gone beyond the isolated case.

Sobotka says new cabinet may sell Severoceske doly following other deals

Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has revealed that the Czech government may try and sell North Bohemia's Severoceske doly brown-coal mine after it completes the privatisation of Vitkovice Steel and Karlovy Vary's Thermal Hotel. Mr Sobotka, however, suggested that - on the whole - large privatisation deals in this election term were over. Since 2002 the Social Democrat-led government sold oil and chemicals group Unipetrol as well as the fixed-line giant Cesky Telecom. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Mr Sobotka rejected speculation over the privatisation of power producer CEZ, Czech Airlines and the Czech Post, saying such sales were unrealistic and would not even be "kicked-off" at this time.

Czech sci-fi author Josef Nesvadba dies

The respected Czech science fiction author Josef Nesvadba has died at the age of 78. Mr Nesvadba's family made the announcement on Tuesday without disclosing further details. Josef Nesvadba's death comes as a blow to the Czech sci-fi literature scene which he so influenced in the 1960s and 1980s, continuing in the philosophical footsteps of Czech writers like Karel Capek and Jiri Weiss. His many works include "Einstein's Brain" and "Hell Benes" (2002) - his final book.

In 2003 Mr Nesvadba was a key guest at the annual Prague Writer's Festival, where he debated the nature of speculative fiction with colleague and fellow sci-fi writer Ondrej Neff.

Baros named in line-up for Wednesday's Champions League match

Footballer Milan Baros has been named to the line-up for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final which will see Baros' Liverpool face off against Chelsea. Liverpool is considered the underdog in the match-up, but could benefit from the Czech striker's speed. Baros had been doubtful for the match after receiving a minor knee injury in a league game at the weekend.

Weather

Wednesday should see some sunny intervals and daytime temperatures of around 17 degrees Celsius. Light rain is then expected on Thursday.

26-04-2005