Daily news summary News

16-08-2005

Blackmailer arrested

The police have arrested a man who threatened to kill innocent people if he did not receive five million crowns from the state. The 21 year old sent the interior ministry a number of e-mails in which he said innocent people would die in a terrorist attack unless his conditions were met. He was arrested a week after sending the first mail. If found guilty, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Ban on poultry imports from Russia and Kazakhstan

The Czech Republic has banned imports of poultry from Russia and Kazakhstan following reports of bird-flu virus in the region. The State Veterinary Office said the measure was indefinite and was in line with EU regulations. An epidemic caused by a dangerous strain of the virus is reported from Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains. Five hundred birds have died of it in the past 24 hours. The strain is the same one that killed dozens of people in Asia.

Parliament wants complex report on CzechTek police action

Parliament has asked the government for a complex report on the police action at the CzechTek techno party last month. The report is expected to say who specifically authorized the use of force against a 5,000 strong crowd, what were the reasons behind the decision, what orders the police were given and what were the consequences of the police intervention.

Flood alert in southern parts of the country

Many towns and villages in the southern parts of the country are on flood alert following several days of heavy rain. The town's of Cerna and Blanice say they've had to evacuate nearby children's camps. Fear of swelling rivers is strong in this part of the country, with many towns and villages still recovering from the devastating floods in 2002.

Basta appointed deputy foreign minister

Jaroslav Basta, the former Czech ambassador to Russia, has been appointed deputy foreign minister for political issues. Basta served as minister without portfolio in the Social Democrat Cabinet headed by Milos Zeman where he was in charge of the intelligence services. He was also one of the people behind the former government's anti-corruption drive "Clean Hands". Its poor results were one of the reasons why Mr. Basta had to leave the cabinet in the year 2000.

Jandak to be appointed culture minister on Wednesday

President Vaclav Klaus is expected to appoint actor Vitezslav Jandak culture minister on Wednesday. Mr. Jandak will replace the late Pavel Dostal who died of cancer in July. The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he expects the new culture minister to establish a constructive dialogue with the churches. This has proved to be a problematic area in recent years. The President will also be appointing the former Prague mayor, Igor Nemec, as head of the Office for Protection of Personal Data.

Weather:

Wednesday is expected to be partly cloudy with some rain and day temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees.

16-08-2005