Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

24-06-2003

Government approves compensation package for farmers

The government has proposed giving Czech farmers 3, 4 billion crowns in compensation for losses caused by last year's devastating floods. The money would come from two separate sources, one of which would be the proceeds from small scale privatization. The proposal has yet to be approved by Parliament and Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas warned farmers on Tuesday that they could expect to receive the money this autumn at the earliest. The farming sector is labouring under huge debts after suffering 3.5 billion crown losses as a result of last years floods.

Czechs queue up for list of informers

Czechs have been cuing up at district offices for copies of an official list of communist-era secret police informers. The new copies of the list, which was first published in March of this year, have an additional appendix of a further 9,000 names. When it first appeared district offices were mobbed and there were angry scenes over the fact that there were not enough copies to meet demand. Tuesday's distribution passed without incident, with disciplined queues of people patiently waiting to receive their copy. Publishing the lists cost the Interior Ministry around 7 million crowns. No further re-prints will be issued.

Prague not being considered for possible new NATO seat

The Czech ambassador to NATO Karel Kovanda has denied claims that the Czech capital Prague is being considered as a possible new NATO seat. Mr. Kovanda was reacting to a statement by an unnamed Belgian diplomat who said that Prague, Warsaw, Budapest and Barcelona had expressed their interest in becoming a possible alternative to Brussels after the USA threatened to boycott the Brussels headquarters. In mid June, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threatened that the USA would cease to attend NATO sessions in Brussels unless Belgium abolished its law under which anyone in the world can be sued at Belgian courts over suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Nigerian embassy sends protest note

The Nigerian embassy in Prague has sent the Czech Foreign Ministry a protest note regarding the suspension of criminal proceedings against Jiri Pasovsky, who is charged with the murder of the Nigerian consul. The incident happened in February of this year when Pasovsky, who allegedly lost his savings in a dubious business transaction with a Nigerian firm, entered the Nigerian embassy and after a short verbal exchange shot dead the consul and wounded a receptionist. Court experts have recently stated that he was not responsible for his actions at the time, hence the suspension of criminal proceedings. The Czech Foreign Ministry has responded to the protest note, saying that it cannot influence or interfere with the work of the police or that of Czech courts.

Vaclav Havel sets off on dream tour of Europe

The former Czech president Vaclav Havel has set off on a life-long dream tour of Europe. After thirteen years in office the 66 year old former president and his wife Dagmar will spend four weeks touring European countries at their own pace. They plan to visit Spain, where they are to meet with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia and attend a conference in support of democracy in Cuba. The couple will also spend some time in Portugal where they own a seaside residence, but the rest of their plans remain private. The CTK press agency said the former first couple set off from Prague on Tuesday morning with Mr. Havel behind the wheel of a sporty car.

Weather:

Wednesday should be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius.

24-06-2003