Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

28-05-2002

Kasl quits as mayor, leaving Civic Democrats

The mayor of Prague, Jan Kasl, has resigned, and says he no longer wishes to be a member of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats. Mr Kasl, who claimed recently that the city council was riddled with corruption, told reporters he no longer wished to share in the responsibility of running the capital, and said he would quit the post on Wednesday. Mr Kasl has at times been an outspoken critic of the Civic Democrat leader, Vaclav Klaus. His resignation comes less than three weeks before the general elections.

Amnesty critical of police brutality investigations, protection of Roma

The human rights group Amnesty International has criticised the Czech Republic for failing to properly investigate claims of police brutality and not providing sufficient protection for members of the Roma minority. In its annual report released on Tuesday, Amnesty said allegations of police brutality during the September 2000 IMF/World Bank meeting in Prague were not investigated properly by the Czech authorities. The Czech courts were also singled out for failing to punish racially-motivated crimes with sufficient sentences.

Havel welcomes NATO, Russia ties, but warns against polar divisions

President Vaclav Havel has welcomed closer co-operation between NATO and Russia, but says co-operation between the two should not give the impression that the Northern hemisphere is uniting at the expense of the poorer South. Speaking at a one-day NATO summit at Italy's Practica di Mare military base on Tuesday, President Havel also said that Russia now understood that the alliance was intent on expanding further to the east, taking in the three Baltic states which were once part of the Soviet Union. A number of countries in Central and Eastern Europe could receive invitations to join NATO later this year, at the alliance's summit in Prague. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became the first former Communist countries to join NATO in March 1999.

New poll: most Czechs deeply concerned with corruption

A new poll released on Tuesday says Czech citizens rank corruption and organised crime as their country's most serious social ills. The poll, conducted by the Centre for Public Opinion Research, found that 73 per cent of Czechs thought corruption was a "very urgent" problem in their country, along with organised crime. Politics, racism and problems with refugees ranked low in the list of worries.

Zeman cuts ribbon on planned new motorway to Ostrava, Polish border

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has unveiled construction of a new motorway which will improve access to north Moravia and southern Poland. Mr Zeman said the motorway would benefit the people of Ostrava, the biggest city in the north Moravia region, which lacks proper motorway connections to the rest of the country. He said the only way of reducing high unemployment in the Ostrava region was to attract foreign investment, something he said could only happen with proper infrastructure. The motorway is being built by the Israeli company Housing and Construction, and should be complete by 2008.

Czech crown reaches new high against dollar

The ever-strengthening Czech crown broke reached a new high on Tuesday, falling below 33 crowns to the dollar for the first time in three years. Dealers said the breakthrough was due to weakening of the dollar on the world currency markets. The Central Bank has intervened several times in recent months against the strong crown.

Czechs, Vatican agree on wording of declaration

Representatives of the Czech Republic and the Vatican say they have agreed on the wording of a declaration on the position of the Catholic Church. A spokesman for the Church said both sides were happy with the declaration and the document would be approved soon.

Weather

Finally a look at the weather. Wednesday will be another mostly cloudy day, with sunny intervals and the chance of showers in places. Temperatures in the daytime are expected to reach highs of 22 degrees Celsius.

28-05-2002