A former high-ranking Foreign Ministry official was sentenced on Monday to eight years imprisonment for planning to have a journalist murdered. Karel Srba, General Secretary under former Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, was found guilty of ordering the murder of Sabina Slonkova, a reporter for the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes. The man hired by Mr Srba to carry out the killing changed his mind at the last minute, and reported to the police. Ms Slonkova had been investigating allegations of corruption at the ministry involving Mr Srba's circle of acquaintances. Three accomplices were also sentenced on Monday to between four and six years in prison. Karel Srba appealed against the verdict. Mr Srba had been a close advisor to former Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, who is now President of the United Nations General Assembly.
About 120 handicapped people from across the country demonstrated outside the Government Office on Monday for the right to a personal assistant and the right to choose between different social services. Their representatives presented a memorandum to the government in which they expressed their fear that the newly-prepared laws on re-distribution of tax incomes and on social services will not give them free choice. The handicapped want to be able to choose the social services they need themselves. At present, the money is directly given to institutions which provide these services. The National Council of the Physically Handicapped say that the state spends three times more money per disabled person in institutional care compared to equal services they receive at home.
A Czech satellite carrying scientific equipment was launched on Monday afternoon from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia. It was carried into orbit by a Russian rocket together with Canadian, US, Danish and Japanese satellites. The satellite, called Mimosa, was designed at the Institute of Astronomy and constructed by Czech companies. It will orbit the Earth at a distance of 320 to 820 kilometres. The Mimosa project, which has taken six years of research, cost 63 million crowns. This is the sixth satellite launched by Czech scientists so far.
A Czech man was killed on Monday when he was hit by a falling rock in Upper Austria. Three Czech tourists were hiking along the Great Priel peak around noon on Monday, when boulders started falling off a rock above them, hitting one of them. The injured man was taken to hospital by helicopter but doctors were unable to save his life.
Police say a man was killed in a Prague metro tunnel on Sunday evening after making his way onto the tracks. A metro spokeswoman said the man was struck by a train in the tunnel at Vysehrad station on the C line. He was killed instantly. The line was shut down for three hours after the accident.
Police in the north Moravian town of Jesenik say a Roma couple were attacked in their own home on Saturday by a group of three drunken youths. The three ordered the couple to open the door, saying they were policemen. When the couple did so, the man was slashed in the face and chest with a knife and his wife hit in the eye with a cobblestone. A police spokesman said the attack appeared to be racially motivated. Two of the attackers were arrested shortly after the incident and were taken into custody, the third was arrested on Monday. The offenders face up to eight years in prison.
Tuesday is expected to be cloudy to overcast, with rain or thunderstorms in most parts of the country. It should also be slightly cooler than the previous days, with temperatures in the daytime reaching 20 to 24 degrees Celsius in Bohemia and 29 degrees in Moravia.
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