Daily news summary News

24-05-2004

Labour Minister says he'll fight for higher pensions

The Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach has said he would resign if he fails to push through higher pensions and family benefits for next year. Under a coalition agreement pensions should grow by 500 to 600 crowns and benefits for families with children should also increase by several hundred crowns. Altogether the higher pensions and benefits should cost the state an additional 13 to 14 billion crowns. According to minister Skromach the state can afford it since state budget revenues are growing.

Police stop illegal arms shipments

A police spokeswoman has confirmed that last month the Czech police stopped a number of illegal arms and ammunition shipments to Iraq and several Asian and African countries. Two Czechs were arrested and charged with violating laws on trade in weapons and the police confiscated a large number of ammunition and machine guns. Some of the ammunition was apparently destined for Iraq government units but Czech intelligence was afraid it could fall into the hands of anti-government forces.

Compensation for survivors of accident victims

Survivors of traffic accident victims, whose death has been caused by others, will now receive one-off compensation ranging from 80,000 to 240,000 crowns. Under a new insurance law the compensation will be paid out automatically from the insurance of the person who caused the accident. In the past survivors had to laboriously claim the compensation with courts. The highest amount would go to close family members or people living in a common household.

No one to blame for Asanace clearance operation

A Prague court of appeal has overturned a three year prison sentence for an officer of the former communist secret service to a five year suspended sentence. Petr Zak was involved in the so called Asanace clearance operation aimed against dissidents of the former communist regime. They were persecuted and physically and emotionally abused with the aim of making them flee from their homeland. The former communist interior minister Jaromir Obzina who ordered the operation is dead and was never punished for the deed. Former stb officers, such as Zak claim they were merely obeying orders.

Court deciding whether to re-open Kajinek case

The Plzen regional court met on Monday to decide whether to re-open the case of Jiri Kajinek, whom it had sentenced to life for the contract murder of two people in 1998. The court is to decide whether to reopen the case on the basis of new testimonies. Of the three witnesses who testified on Monday, two claimed that they were certain Kajinek was not the killer. There have been allegations in recent months that Kajinek may have been framed by the police. Kajinek himself has never confessed to the murders. His case evoked great public interest, especially after he managed to escape from a top security prison in the year 2,000.

Weather:

Tuesday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.

24-05-2004