Daily news summary News of Radio Prague


Fiscal reform moves ahead

The finance ministry has been finalizing a draft reform of the public finances. Finance minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he would present strategic goals of the fiscal reform to the government at the end of May. Mr Sobotka said debates now focused on the annual rate of reducing the public finance deficit, and whether it should be related to the overall debt or the GDP. The Czech Republic has been repeatedly criticized by international institutions for a growing gap in public finances but Czech governments so far have been reluctant to adopt the necessary reforms which must include expenditure cuts, especially in social welfare.

Ombudsman warns against direct presidential election

Czech Ombudsman Otakar Motejl has warned against the introduction of a direct presidential election in the Czech Republic. Mr Motejl cited potential dangers of a public vote, including manipulation with public opinion. Under the current law, Czech presidents are elected at a joint session of both houses of parliament. However, a bill on direct presidential election was approved by the lower house in the first reading earlier this week and politicians across the political spectrum suggested that the next president will be elected in a direct election after Vaclav Klaus's term expires in 2005.

2.5 year old boy gone missing on Thursday found dead

Rescuers have recovered the body of a two-and-a-half year old boy who went missing on Thursday in the village of Borovnice, North-Eastern Bohemia. The body lay in a snow-covered field about six kilometres away from his home. Hundreds of volunteers assisted by a police helicopter with thermo-vision were searching for four days the local forestland and hillsides for the boy who often rambled with his dog.

Trade inspectors seize faked goods worth CZK 4.3 million

The Czech Trade Inspection and customs officers seized fake "brand" clothes and watches worth more than 100,000 USD during an inspection of Vietnamese vendors' stalls at Prague's largest market place in the Holesovice district. Many vendors fled, leaving their merchandise on the spot.

Unique virtual encyclopaedia of art presented to the public

A team of authors have presented the first virtual encyclopaedia of contemporary Czech fine art. The unique electronic publication includes biographies of more than 500 artists and about 25,000 of their works. A 35-member team has worked on the project for six years and the costs exceeded several million crowns. The whole encyclopaedia will be available on eight CD-ROMs or one DVD next spring.

Weather forecast

We are expecting a partially cloudy day; the highest daytime temperatures should reach between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.