Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

16-03-2003

Cabinet to discuss verdict under which state must pay US company huge amount

The government is to discuss the verdict of the arbitration case in which the Czech Republic has been ordered to pay the US-based company CME over 10 billion crowns, or around 350 million US dollars, for failing to protect CME's investment in the Nova television station. The Finance Ministry said on Saturday it was preparing a variety of possible reactions to the verdict, which it would put before the cabinet on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting has been coming under intense pressure for the way it has handled the TV Nova affair. The governing Social Democrats' deputies group has called for the council's dismissal.

In 1999 Czech media magnate Vladimir Zelezny, whose company owned Nova's broadcast licence, squeezed investor CME out of the station before relaunching it himself. Mr Zelezny, who was elected to the Senate last year, is being investigated by Czech police on a number of fraud charges.

Klaus proud of Czech anti-chemical unit in Kuwait

President Vaclav Klaus has praised the work of the Czech anti-chemical unit which is currently stationed in Kuwait. In a letter sent on Sunday, Mr Klaus said the troops had his trust and support, and that he was proud of them. The Czech presence in the Persian Gulf was reinforced earlier this year, following a US request for assistance in a possible war against Iraq. The Czech Republic will only send the troops into action if a second United Nations resolution is passed, or if Iraq uses weapons of mass destruction.

Anti-war demonstration passes British, US embassies

A protest march against a possible war against Iraq has passed both the British and United States' embassies in Prague. Thousands of people took part in Sunday's anti-war demonstration, which was the second in the city in the last week. A day earlier around fifty people demonstrated in Prague against Czech accession to the European Union.

Mystery virus undiscovered in Czech Republic, says Souckova

The mystery virus which has killed at least nine people around the world has not as yet been discovered in the Czech Republic, Health Minister Marie Souckova said on Sunday. The minister said Czech health authorities were monitoring the situation carefully. The virus is believed to have originated in Vietnam, and has struck in several countries, including Germany.

Drunken truck-driver caught going wrong way down motorway

A drunken truck driver was caught going the wrong way down the D1 motorway near Jihlava on Saturday evening. The truck had driven against the flow of traffic for almost 20 kilometres before police managed to get the 33-year-old Slovak driver to pull over. He refused to give blood or urine samples, though a breathalyser test revealed he had been drinking.

Weather

Monday will be sunny in places, though some parts of the country can also expect snow showers. Temperatures will range from as low as minus four at night to plus eight degrees Celsius during the day. Weather forecasters say pleasant spring weather should return to the Czech Republic this week, with 14 degrees Celsius expected on Friday.

16-03-2003