Daily news summary News of Radio Prague


Social Democrats for Rychetsky as joint presidential candidate

Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetsky has the most support among the Social Democrats, as talks continue to find a joint coalition candidate for president. The party's leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, said on Tuesday afternoon that all three parties in the governing coalition would discuss the issue soon. The news followed earlier reports that two of three people being considered by the governing parties had announced they would not stand for the post of president. The chairwoman of the Academy of Sciences, Helena Illnerova, was the first to drop out, followed by the president of Charles University, Ivan Wilhelm. The other name under consideration was academic and cancer specialist Pavel Klener.

The Czech Republic is currently without a president, following the departure of Vaclav Havel and two failed attempts by parliament to elect a successor in January. It is expected that a third bicameral vote will be held, though no date has yet been set.

Austrian no-nukes campaigners to begin second hunger strike Friday

Austrian opponents of the Czech Temelin nuclear power station have said they will fulfil their threat to hold a second symbolic hunger strike in protest at the plant. The anti-nuclear activists said on Tuesday they would begin their hunger strike outside the ministry of agriculture in Vienna on Friday. The protest action follows a similar four-day hunger strike at the beginning of January. Opponents of the Temelin nuclear power plant, which went into operation in 2000, say it is unsafe and should be shut down.

Trial of top communist accused of 1968 treason postponed indefinitely

The trial of a former high-ranking Communist functionary accused of treason has been postponed indefinitely. The judge hearing the case at Prague Municipal court ordered the case be sent to a higher court when a lawyer for defendant Karel Hoffman accused her of being biased. Mr Hoffman, who is now 78, is accused of ordering the stopping of radio broadcasts on the night of the Soviet-led invasion in 1968. He has said the case against him is politically-motivated, and that in reality he is being tried for his belief in socialism.

Czech Republic to send representative to Iraqi opposition conference

The Czech Republic is to send a representative to a conference being held by the Iraqi opposition in the middle of this month in a Kurdish area of the country not under the control of Baghdad. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra said on Tuesday that though the invitation to the conference came from the United States, the meeting would not be controlled by the US. The Czech Republic has recently reinforced its military presence in the Persian Gulf, following a US request for assistance in a possible war against Iraq.

World ice hockey federation chief unperturbed by Czech difficulties

The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation, Rene Fasel, said on Tuesday that he was not disquieted by reports that the Czech Republic may not have a new hockey arena in time for the 2004 world championships, which it is due to host. The company Sazka announced on Monday it was suspending work on the arena in Prague's Vysocany district due to a dispute with the owner of the site. The building of a new arena, which is a condition for holding the world championships, has run into a series of difficulties since the project began.


Wednesday should be partially cloudy with snow in places. The maximum daytime temperature will be zero Celsius.