Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

22-07-2003

President Klaus admitted to hospital with tonsillitis, pains in joints

President Vaclav Klaus has been admitted to hospital in Prague. Mr Klaus, who is 62, had been receiving treatment at home for tonsillitis, but was brought to the city's General Teaching Hospital on Tuesday morning when he said pains in his joints were getting worse. A spokesman said the president would undergo a comprehensive check-up. Mr Klaus has cancelled his schedule for the rest of this week, meaning the appointment of new judges to the Constitutional Court and other official duties have had to be postponed.

Chamber of Deputies begins crucial debate on reforms package

The Chamber of Deputies began a crucial debate on Tuesday on a package of financial reforms aimed at curbing the Czech Republic's record budget deficit. A vote on the first reading is expected by the end of the week, though analysts expect the reforms to come under pressure during second and third readings, when the tabling of amendments could provoke a political crisis. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla's centre-left government has a majority of only one in the 200-seat Chamber and Mr Spidla has staked the fate of his government on the reforms being passed.

Meanwhile, Josef Hojdar has resigned from the Social Democrats' group in the Chamber of Deputies, although he will vote for the cabinet's reform package, Prime Minister Spidla said on Tuesday. Some commentators believe, however, that Mr Hojdar's resignation could threaten the existence of the coalition.

European Court of Human Rights again rules Czech courts too slow

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has ruled that the Czech courts have been too slow in resolving a restitution case, and must pay the plaintiff damages totalling 6,000 euros. Berta Schmidt-Kohn has been trying to win part of her late husband Pavel Kohn's property back for ten years. Tuesday's ruling was the third this year in which the Court of Human Rights has said the Czech courts are too slow.

Man charged with 17 extortion attempts

Police have charged a man with threatening to plant bombs in the east Bohemian town of Hradec Kralove, if his demands for money were not met. The accused, who is 26 and has been in custody since Friday, had allegedly made 17 such threats since last September. If convicted he stands to go to prison for up to 12 years, police said on Tuesday.

Bodies of four Czechs found frozen on mountain in Caucasus

The bodies of four Czech climbers have been found on Mt Elbrus in the Caucasus, a Russian news agency reported on Tuesday. The four were found frozen in their tents, with three of them carrying documents showing they were in their mid-twenties and from Prague. The fourth has yet to be identified.

Kalousek to stand against Svoboda for leadership of Christian Democrats

The chairman of the Chamber of Deputies budget committee, Miroslav Kalousek, has said he will challenge Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda for the leadership of the Christian Democrats at a party conference later this year. Mr Kalousek said a number of local branches of the party had urged him to stand for the post.

American robbed, thrown in Vltava, Italian falls in drunk, drowns

A 21-year-old man from the United States was robbed and thrown into the Vltava River in Prague on Sunday night. The man broke his pelvis after being thrown 20 metres from Hlavkuv Bridge but managed to swim to safety. Police said on Monday they were looking for three men in connection with the attack. Also on Monday, the body of a 19-year-old Italian tourist was found in the Vltava. On Thursday night the youth, believed to have been drunk, fell off Charles Bridge.

IPB shareholders preparing case for Court of Human Rights

Minority shareholders of IPB bank, which went bankrupt in 2000 and was then sold to CSOB bank by the state, are preparing to take the Czech Republic to the European Court of Human Rights. A representative of the shareholders said on Monday that their rights and freedoms had been violated by the responsible state authorities. The lawsuit is expected to be filed within a month.

Weather

Wednesday should be cloudy with storms in places. Temperatures are expected to range from 23 to 27 degrees Celsius.

22-07-2003