Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

07-05-2003

Second test at a Brno hospital fails to find any evidence of SARS link to patient's death

A second test by Brno hospital officials to determine whether a man who died of pneumonia over the weekend may have been infected with SARS - has failed to uncover any evidence of the deadly virus. The victim had been suspected of having the disease, after having recently travelled to the Czech Republic from Southeast Asia; he died in hospital on Saturday. An autopsy was first conducted to determine whether the man suffered from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which has swept Asia and Canada, but so far has not been detected in the Czech Republic. In recent weeks Czech hospitals in the country's main cities have quarantined and examined some 26 people for the disease. None have tested positive so far.

The first members of the Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit in the Gulf to return home

The first members of the Czech-Slovak anti-chemical unit in the Gulf are expected to fly home on Wednesday, together with Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik, who has been touring the region. The 30-member group has been in Kuwait since last September. Meanwhile, all members of the contingent, Czechs and Slovaks, will return home by early June. An army deputy chief of staff revealed that only logistical support for the 7th field hospital would remain at the US base at Camp Doha, while no Slovak troops were foreseen as working with the Czech field hospital. The Czech part of the anti-chemical unit, commanded by Dusan Lupuljev, consists of 400 soldiers, while Slovakia has 70 men and women in the Gulf. So far they have helped provide humanitarian aid in southern Iraq, including the distribution of water.

Foreign Minister pushes for faster vetting of diplomatic and non-diplomatic personnel

Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has indicated he wants the National Security Office to increase the speed of vetting of candidates become members of the permanent Czech mission to the European Union. On Wednesday he requested the government give this task to the head of the National Security Office Tomas Kadlec. In Mr Svoboda's view vetting is clearly necessary with regards to the activities of diplomatic and non-diplomatic personnel, but after the government meeting on Wednesday he expressed dismay that 530 cases at the Foreign Ministry remain incomplete, 120 of those requests dating back to1999. Mr Svoboda wants the government to set specific deadlines for the vetting process. He stressed the importance of the procedure for completing the European agenda, as well as for the setting of Czech representation in Brussels.

New poll shows that majority of Czechs would favour referendum on US military presence

A new poll shows that majority of Czechs would favour referendum if it came to the placement of US troops on Czech soil; the poll, conducted by the Stem agency has revealed that even the majority of Czech politicians would not be against a plebiscite on the issue, with the greatest resistance to the idea coming from the Communist Party. According to the survey one third of the public would vote in favour of US basing troops in the Czech Republic, while 43 percent would vote against.

Production cut at Czech LG Electronics/Philips plant

A Czech joint venture of South Korea's LG Electronics and Dutch electronics maker Philips said on Wednesday it would further cut production at its Czech TV tube production plant due to poor sales. The May 18th - June 2nd stoppage at all three lines of the new LG Philips Displays factory in Hranice, 300 kilometres east of Prague, comes on the heels of a previous two-week outage on two lines which finished last week. LG Philips Displays, as well as many other manufacturers in the export-oriented country, have been hit by poor demand in western Europe, the key market for Czech-made goods. Company spokesman Vladan Penkava said the 240 million euro factory built completed in 2001 would soon return to full operation. The plant has the capacity to produce 2.5 million television tubes a year.

Three injured in auto/train collision

Three Slovak nationals were injured when their car collided with a small train on Tuesday evening near Valtice, south Moravia, after the driver failed to heed a signal warning. Two of the passengers were seriously injured, the third escaped with only light injuries, after their car was dragged fifty metres, before ending up in a ditch. The train driver only saw the vehicle at the last moment, and was unable to take any steps to try and avoid the accident

Weather

Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with a chance of showers. Daytime temperatures should reach a high of about 29 degrees Celsius.

07-05-2003