Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

05-07-2003

Central European Foreign Ministers meet to discuss common future in EU

The foreign ministers of six central European countries met in the south-eastern town of Buchlovice on Friday to discuss regional cooperation and the results of the European Union summit that was held in June. At the summit in Greece, a draft constitution was presented as an attempt to form a legislative backbone for an enlarged EU after the current fifteen members welcome ten new mainly east European states next May. Fearing the larger states would become more powerful, the representatives of the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia met to find ways of jointly pushing for changes to the first draft constitution. At issue was a proposal for a simpler voting system in which a decision would pass if supported by at least half of all member states, representing at least 60 percent of the EU's population, a departure from the current system that favours small states.

Three more Czech experts arrive in Basra

The three Czech experts who arrived in Basra, southern Iraq, at the end of the week will begin work in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) on Saturday, a spokesman for the 7th Czech field hospital stationed in Basra has said. Engineers Frantisek Fuksa and Jaroslav Reif are experts on technical infrastructure, mainly focusing on energy and water. The former mayor of Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia, Martin Dvorak will help in the establishment of the local administration.

National holiday: Czech Catholics commemorate Cyril and Methodius

July 5 is a state holiday in the Czech Republic commemorating the saints Cyril and Methodius, two missionaries who came to the Czech lands in the ninth century upon the invitation of Moravian Prince Rostislav, bringing with them the Christian faith and the Cyrillic alphabet, which is still being used in several Slavonic languages. As every year, the celebration peaked in the Moravian pilgrimage town of Velehrad, where Czech and Moravian bishops served mass for some 30,000 believers.

League of Polish Families supports Czech stance on Benes decrees

The Polish Catholic conservative party, the League of Polish Families (LPR), has said it fully supports the Czech Republic's stand on the Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion and confiscation of property of millions of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia in the years following WWII. According to LPR Chairman Roman Giertych, the party will propose to pass a resolution expressing solidarity to the Czech Republic's decision not to abolish the decrees at the next session of the Sejm, the Polish parliament. The party's initiative follows calls from Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber for financial compensation for some Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II.

Albatros sues school boys who published Czech version of new Harry Potter book

The Prague-based publishing house Albatros, which publishes Czech translations of Harry Potter books has taken legal action against a group of schoolboys who posted a Czech translation of the bestseller's latest edition on a private web site. Only two weeks after the English version was released, the boys translated about one-half of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The official Czech translation, prepared by Albatros, is not due to be released before next February. According to Albatros programme director Ondrej Muller, the Internet version violated copyright law.

Two bodies found near Pilsen

Police say the remains of the bodies of an elderly woman and a middle aged man were found by passers-by in two forests near the Bohemian town of Pilsen. Both bodies have already been identified. An autopsy is yet to be carried out to determine the causes of death.

Weather

Sunday is expected to be much like Saturday with overcast skies and scattered showers throughout the country. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 23 degrees Celsius.

05-07-2003