Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

14-04-2003

Klaus among three to sign EU accession treaty in Athens on Wednesday

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, Foreign Affairs Minister Cyril Svoboda, and Czech President Vaclav Klaus will sign the EU accession treaty on behalf of the Czech Republic on Wednesday, at the EU Summit in Athens. Mr Klaus expressed his desire to sign the document, although originally the third signatory was meant to be the Czech Republic's former chief negotiator to the EU, Pavel Telicka. The Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda expressed satisfaction on Monday over the Czech president's decision. It remains unclear whether any of the presidents from the other nine EU candidate countries will be signing their countries' respective treaties.

Thirty water treatment devices to be sent to Basra

Thirty water treatment devices, aimed at helping to secure safe drinking water for Iraqi citizens in Basra, southern Iraq, will be sent by the Czech Republic as part of planned humanitarian aid. Czech parliament is to decide this week on whether it will send its 7th field hospital to the region. Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik said on Monday that the water treatment technology would be sent in lieu of one hundred Czech special forces soldiers previously intended for the mission. Mr Tvrdik said that necessary defence support for the field hospital would be provided by military police.

Czech embassy in Baghdad to reopen in near future

Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has indicated that the Czech embassy in Baghdad will reopen in the near future, saying that he was now looking to raise Czech diplomatic representation in Iraq from the post of charge d'affaires, to ambassador. Mr Svoboda indicated that he was already considering several possible candidates. Meanwhile, Mr Svoboda added that the Czech embassy in Baghdad had not been hit by looting like the Slovak embassy last week. The Czech site had been closed down a month before the US-led military action against Iraq began in March.

Government refines set of tasks for war against terrorism, protection of state

The Czech government has refined its set of tasks ahead in the continuing war on terrorism, government spokeswoman Anna Starkova has revealed. On Monday the government agreed to place greater emphasis on protecting information systems, optimising communication between intelligence services, and improving co-operation with international anti-terrorism experts.

Police charge two for involvement in banker's kidnapping

Police have charged two men in connection with the kidnapping of Giuseppe Roselli, chairman of the board of directors of the Union Group, which controls some 75% of the troubled small lender Union Banka. The kidnapping, which took place one week ago, saw Mr Roselli and his personal bodyguard held for 24 hours, before being released unharmed. Police so far are revealing no further details as to possible motives for the kidnapping, though Mr Roselli's spokesman has indicated that the banker had been forced to sign a number of documents for alleged misuse.

International drug smuggling gang broken up by customs officials

Police and customs officers in western Bohemia have arrested ten people, including eight foreign nationals and two Czechs, who were allegedly involved in the large-scale smuggling of heroin from the Balkans to Germany. The group had been monitored by a special police and customs team since last August. A total of 8.5 kilograms of heroin was seized during the operation. All those arrested have been taken into custody and if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison.

Revenue offices to pardon fines and interest on old tax arrears

Revenue offices are ready not to charge fines and interest on old tax arrears in an attempt to secure extra revenues for the state budget. The Finance Ministry said the pardon would apply to those who paid their outstanding debts with their revenue office originating between 1993-2001 by the end of this July. The Finance Ministry expects that the friendly gesture will ensure an additional inflow of money to the state budget and reduce the overall volume of accumulated tax arrears, which has exceeded 100 billion CZK for the past decade.

Oil costs boost March Czech producer prices

Czech producer prices grew 0.3 percent month-on-month in March. The Czech Statistics Office said the increase was mainly due to a jump in fuel costs. However, overall price pressures remain weak. In year-on-year terms, prices charged in industry, as measured by the producer price index, dropped 0.4 percent last month, the fourteenth consecutive month of decline.

Weather

Tuesday is expected to be sunny with daytime temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius.

14-04-2003