Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

03-02-2003

Tram drivers strike ends prematurely after incident with security guards, police

The Transit Authority has decided to sue the Federation of Tram Drivers for organising a strike on Monday, which according to early estimates has resulted in a loss of seven million Czech crowns. The Authority considers the strike illegal, saying that current law requires organisers of strikes to submit a list of participants in advance. Some drivers had furthermore broken the law by blocking others who were not willing to take part in the strike, the authority claims. On Monday, the police had to be called to four depots and according to some reports, private security guards and the police allegedly assaulted striking drivers. The strike, which was supposed to be called off prematurely, is expected to continue until midnight although about 80 percent of Prague's trams were running on the city's routes by Monday evening.

Czech government denies report about Palestinian terrorist

The Czech government on Monday rejected claims by the German weekly Focus magazine that Prague police had arrested a Palestinian suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Berlin. According to a foreign police spokesperson four men, three women, and one child who all held passports from the Middle East were detained at Prague's Ruzyne airport on January 27th and handed over to the immigration authorities after the group had applied for asylum. In its latest edition, the German weekly magazine Focus had said that one of them - a Palestinian - was en route to Berlin where he was planning to attack the U.S. and Israeli embassies. However, the Czech Interior Ministry has rejected the claims, stating that all information had been verified, showing no threat of terrorist attack.

Hoffman trial to be adjourned

The trial of Karel Hoffman, a former high ranking communist official, is to be adjourned on Thursday. Mr Hoffman is accused of having ordered a radio and TV blackout following the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in order to prevent the media broadcasting a statement by the Communist party's central committee, which condemned the action. Two key witnesses - the former deputy-director of Czechoslovak Radio and the then deputy-minister of culture for radio broadcasting - are both ill. The case was investigated in the mid-90s but was later closed for insufficient evidence. It was re-opened last year in November, when Mr Hoffman was charged with treason.

Pilsen receives financial aid from European fund

The city of Pilsen in west Bohemia has been promised some 75 million Czech crowns (about 2.5 million US dollars) worth of financial aid. Following the devastating floods in August and more heavy flooding in January, the city has suffered much damage. The money, donated out of the European ISPA programme is to help in the clean-up process and will be transferred within the next few days. According to Pilsen town hall, the donation will be used to clean up its sewage disposal plant as well as one of the most damaged sewerage networks.

Poll: relations best with Poland and Slovakia

A public opinion poll conducted by the Centre for Public Opinion Research suggests that well over a decade after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Czech Republic still keeps best relations with its post-Communist neighbours Poland and Slovakia. Relations with the two "western" neighbours Germany and Austria are also friendly but deserve more attention, said the poll. While a little under 80% of those polled believe that Czech-German ties are satisfactory less than half of those asked say the Czech Republic and Austria have good relations.

Weather

Tuesday has been forecast with partially cloudy skies and snow in places. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius.

03-02-2003