Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

18-01-2003

Zeman Social Democrats' candidate for second presidential vote

The governing Social Democrats have chosen former party leader Milos Zeman as their candidate for next Friday's second attempt to find a successor to President Vaclav Havel. A first vote on Wednesday proved inconclusive. The two smaller parties in the governing coalition, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union, have said however they will not support Mr Zeman for president. Neither party has yet announced a candidate of their own, but the Christian Democrats have said Petr Pithart, their unsuccessful candidate in Wednesday's vote, will not be standing again.

Apart from Mr Zeman, the only other candidate so far is the opposition Civic Democrats' Vaclav Klaus, who did best in Wednesday's vote. The Communist Party are not expected to field a candidate, and are planning to hold talks about possible support with the parties who are putting a candidate forward.

Defence minister visits troops in Kosovo, Kuwait

The minister of defence, Jaroslav Tvrdik, has begun a visit to Czech troops based in Kosovo and Kuwait. Mr Tvrdik began the trip a day after the approval of a government resolution allowing for Czech anti-chemical warfare forces based in Kuwait to be reinforced and deployed in a possible war against Iraq. Over 100 soldiers are to be sent to Kuwait at the end of January, bringing the total number of Czech soldiers in the Persian Gulf to over 350.

President Havel makes final official visit to Germany

President Vaclav Havel met senior German politicians, including Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Johannes Rau, on a visit to Berlin on Friday. Mr Havel also presented Czech state decorations to five people who had worked to improve Czech-German relations, including two Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. President Havel steps down on February 2 after 13 years in office.

Restaurant owner ordered to apologise to Romanies he refused service

The owner of a restaurant in Ostrava, north Moravia has been ordered by Ostrava Regional Court to publicly apologise to three Romany men he refused to serve in February 1999. Owner Jiri Justik told the court during Friday's hearing that there had been no free tables in his restaurant, and the judge ruled that the incident had no racial subtext.

Anniversary of death of Jan Palach marked in hometown

A ceremony to mark the death of Jan Palach was held in his home town of Vsetaty, central Bohemia on Saturday. Jan Palach died on January 19, 1969, three days after setting himself on fire on Prague's Wencelsas Square in protest against the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops.

Stepanek loses to Hewitt at Australian Open

The Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek has been knocked out of the Australian Open by world number one Lleyton Hewitt. Mr Stepanek lost Saturday's third round match 3-6 2-6 0-6 in just ninety minutes, despite getting off to a good start by breaking the Australian top seed's serve. In the previous round Mr Stepanek had defeated Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten.

Weather

Sunday should be sunny in places with a maximum daytime temperature of 6 degrees Celsius.

18-01-2003