Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

05-06-2003

Miroslav Kostelka to become new defense minister

President Vaclav Klaus has officially approved the nomination of Miroslav Kostelka as the country's new defense minister. He will be appointed to the post on Monday. Mr. Kostelka -currently deputy defense minister - replaces Jaroslav Tvrdik who resigned last week in protest at planned cuts in defense spending.

Trade unions plan protests

The Confederation of Czech and Moravian Trade Unions has called a protest against the government's budget reform for June 23rd. The Confederation's executive council said on Thursday that it did not believe a planned tripartite meeting of trade unions, employers and government representatives would bring significant results and was therefore calling street protests. Three to five thousand people are expected to attend the protest on June 23rd and the Confederation has warned that all-national protests would follow if the government fails to respond to its demands. Economists claim that the only way to meet those demands is to increase taxes and have advised the government to stand firm.

Czech-Hungarian talks

The Czech Republic and Hungary have agreed to cooperate in gaining new ground on third markets. During a meeting of the countries' prime ministers in Budapest on Thursday the two sides agreed to set up a joint business chamber which would seek new areas of common enterprise. Cooperation in the reconstruction of Iraq, especially in rebuilding the country's refineries, was also discussed. At a press conference after their meeting Prime Minister Spidla said that both countries were interested in maintaining Visegrad Group cooperation after their accession to the European Union.

Lubomir Volenik dies abroad

Lubomir Volenik president of the Supreme Control Office has died on a working visit to Denmark. Mr. Volenik, who was 53, died in his hotel room on Wednesday night. The cause of death is believed to have been a heart attack. The Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, who is on a working visit to Hungary, said he was deeply saddened by the news.

Man held responsible for son's death

A fifty year old Czech whose nine year old son died of exhaustion on a mountaineering expedition in the Alps last year has been given a three year suspended sentence. An Austrian court ruled that he had caused his son's death through negligence. The man was sentenced in absentia.

EU commissioner visits Czech Republic

EU commissioner for expansion Gunter Verheugen on Thursday began his two day visit to the Czech Republic by sampling a cold beer in the west Bohemian city of Pilsen, taking a tram ride and going on a walkabout. I was looking forward to visiting the city whose beer has made this country famous around the world, Mr. Verheugen told the crowd of reporters dogging his footsteps. On Thursday evening the EU commissioner is to meet with President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle.

Weather:

Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with scattered showers and day temperatures between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius.

05-06-2003