Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

23-07-2003

Debate on fiscal reform package continues

Czech lawmakers continued a second day of session on Wednesday debating a government package of proposed fiscal reforms. However, concerns are growing as to whether Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla will be able to count on his government's slim majority in parliament, needed for the reforms to pass. The ruling coalition - which enjoys a majority of just one vote in the Lower House - suffered a heavy blow on Tuesday after government MP Josef Hojdar unexpectedly quit the senior Social Democrat's parliamentary caucus. While Mr Hojdar has pledged to support the first reading on the reforms, his move has highlighted the overall fragility of the coalition government. The vote in a first reading will take place on Thursday. In the past Prime Minister Spidla said that if the reforms were not adopted he and his government would resign. The much-disputed reforms are vital for cutting a ballooning budget deficit, as well as for preparing the Czech Republic for euro adoption, after the country joins the European Union in May.

Czech field hospital targeted in Basra, Iraq

The Czech field hospital in Basra in southern Iraq came under fire from unknown gunmen early on Wednesday shortly after midnight. The Czech Defence Ministry made the announcement to the Czech news agency CTK on Wednesday, citing hospital commander Mojmir Mrva. According to the ministry one person was slightly injured in the incident, but work at the hospital was not interrupted. Three shots fired from small arms by unknown assailants hit the field hospital's accommodation quarters, with one bullet striking an Iraqi patient, who was not seriously hurt. The shooting has been classified as a random incident.

President Klaus awaits further tests in hospital

President Vaclav Klaus, who is sixty-two and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday suffering from tonsillitis and complaining of tiredness and pains to the joints, says he is feeling better, though he still awaits a series of tests to check up on his overall health. Mr Klaus had to cancel his busy schedule and post-pone the appointment of new judges to the Constitutional Court and other official duties in his regular agenda. The president will be released from hospital by the end of the week.

Porn site accomplice receives suspended sentence

A man charged with helping to run, as well as profit from, a now defunct website named after Dagmar Havlova, the wife of former Czech president Vaclav Havel, has received a five month suspended sentence. At a district court in Ceska Lipa the state prosecutor said she was satisfied with the ruling, saying the website had seriously infringed on Mrs Havlova's rights. However, the sentenced man was allegedly not the main initiator of the website. Another man, Frantisek Riga, is believed to bear greater responsibility and is being tried separately in the case.

Senate turns down Pavlicek's bid for the Constitutional Court

The Czech Senate's Human Rights Commission has failed to recommend candidate Vaclav Pavlicek as a judge to the Constitutional Court. Mr Pavlicek, who is the head of the department for constitutional law at Charles University's Faculty of Law, received just one out of a possible nine recommendations on Wednesday. Apparent reasons of contention: the professor's overall philosophical stance, as well as a communist past, and activities in the communist youth organisation under the former regime. Some senators also pointed to Mr Pavlicek's age as a factor in their decision; the university professor will be 69 in two week's time.

Sports plane violates no-fly zone at Temelin

A small Katana sports plane with a single pilot violated the no-fly zone around the Temelin nuclear power plant on Wednesday while flying en route from the town of Most to Hosin. The incident sparked the immediate take-off of an L-39 fighter jet from a nearby army base, however, the jet did not have to intervene. The sports plane pilot had steered his craft out of the no-fly zone by that time. The Aviation Bureau is looking into the causes behind the incident.

Weather

Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with intermittent rain. Day time temperatures are expected to reach around 28 degrees Celsius.

23-07-2003