Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

11-03-2003

Czech government wins vote of confidence

The government of Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla won a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday afternoon, after all the ruling coalition MPs voted in favour of the Czech cabinet. With only a simple majority needed, the coalition's one-vote majority was enough to ensure the confidence vote, meaning that all 101 coalition deputies in the 200-seat lower house voted in favour. The opposition Civic Democrat and Communist deputies voted against. Prime Minister Spidla called the vote after several party members defied him and party colleagues to vote for the opposition candidate Vaclav Klaus during the presidential elections on February 28.

Driver of crashed coach to be charged with public endangerment

Police in South Bohemia said on Tuesday they intend to file charges against the driver of the coach which crashed over the weekend, killing 19 and injuring 34 passengers. The coach drove through a barrier and rolled down a seven metre slope. An investigation has so far shown that the accident was not caused by technical problems. According to state attorney Blanka Klinovska, the police now need to identify all victims, specify injuries and define in what way the driver violated his duties. He is therefore expected to be charged at the end of the week. If found guilty of endangering the public, the 48-year old coach driver could face between three to ten years in prison.

Plzenska Banka shuts its doors to customers

Less than a month after the Ostrava-based bank Union Banka closed its doors to customers, another Czech bank has taken the same step. On Tuesday, the only branch of Plzenska Banka in the South-West Bohemian town of Pilsen was closed to customers after losing a court battle, forcing it to pay over two billion Czech crowns to an investment company. Although Plzenska Banka's management has already launched intensive talks with lawyers and the Czech National Bank, it is yet unclear when it will be re-opened to its customers, which mainly are pensioners and business representatives.

Austrian court rejects compensation claims by Czech haulage firms

A court in the Austrian town of Linz has rejected compensation claims by four Czech haulage companies who say they suffered losses during border blockades staged by Austrian protesters against the Temelin nuclear power plant. Claiming that the delays caused by the protests had limited their rights to the free movement of goods and people across borders, the plaintiffs asked for a symbolic sum of 6,000 Euros. The court rejected their claims saying that the border blockades were staged in the "highest public interest", meaning the freedom of assembly that is guaranteed by the Austrian Constitution.

Former foreign police chief found guilty of abuse of power

A court in the North Moravian town of Prerov has found a former foreign police chief guilty of abuse of office. Jaroslav Dobes is said to have issued long-term residence permits to foreigners illegally and has been given a 5,000 Czech crown fine (a little over 170 US dollars) as well as banned from working for the Czech police for two years.

Czech Telecom to pay fine for offering ADSL service

The Czech Anti-Monopoly Authority said on Tuesday it had fined the dominant Czech telecommunications operator, Cesky Telecom, for abusing its market position by launching high-speed Internet service last year while blocking its rivals. The 23 million Czech crown fine, a little over 800,000 US dollars, is a negligible amount for the former fixed-line monopoly. Cesky Telecom launched high-speed ADSL service - technology that speeds up the transfer of data through fixed telephone lines - in April 2002, well before its competitors were allowed access to almost four million users of the leading operator.

CVVM Poll: 54% of Czechs proud of their nationality

More than half the Czech population, 54 percent, are proud of their nationality according to results of a public opinion poll conducted by the Centre for Public Opinion Research. The poll also suggests that three percent more feel that one's nation is important enough to make significant sacrifices. For example, fifty percent of those polled have said they would actively defend their country at war.

Weather

It looks like the warm and pleasant days are over, it's expected to get cold and rainy. Wednesday should see overcast skies with occasional rain and temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius. Thursday is expected to have snow and temperatures reaching a maximum of 3 degrees Celsius.

11-03-2003