Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

30-07-2003

Foreign Minister: Czech Republic ready to take part in US missile defence programme

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has indicated that the Czech Republic is ready to take part in the US missile defence programme. On Wednesday he said that he would seek for the country play an active role, rather than simply providing political support. He told the Czech news agency CTK that whether this meant that American missiles would be stationed in the Czech Republic was a decision that lay with the government and the country's parliament. On a recent visit to the United States Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla discussed creating a Czech quick-response battalion capable of acting in Europe in the event weapons of mass destruction were used. However, the prime minister denied that the deployment of missiles in the Czech Republic had been discussed. The idea of creating an 'umbrella' defence programme capable of destroying high-altitude enemy rockets was first proposed by US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. At that time, however, the project was scrapped for technical reasons.

Financier Viktor Kozeny could face extradition to Prague

Viktor Kozeny a wealthy Czech financier believed to have defrauded hundreds of thousands of Czechs and gutted companies in the mid 1990s may soon return from the Bahamas to face charges in Prague. Kozeny, a Czech native who became an Irish citizen amidst controversy over his former company's investment deals, told Prague newspapers on Wednesday he plans to fight the latest effort to put him on trial. In an email he sent to the Czech dailies Mr Kozeny labelled the government's legal steps as 'politically motivated persecution'. State prosecutors and the anti-corruption branch of the Czech police said this week they plan to obtain international arrest warrants for Mr Kozeny and an alleged accomplice, Boris Vostry, who lives in Belize, so that they could be extradited to the Czech Republic. The multimillionaires are charged with cheating investors out of more than 400 million US dollars.

Sculptor Pavel Opocensky sentenced to three years for sexual abuse of minors

Well-known Czech sculptor Pavel Opocensky has been sentenced to three years in prison after a district court reaffirmed an earlier decision finding him guilty of sexually abusing under-aged girls. In 1999 Mr Opocensky paid several under-aged girls to undress in his flat. He also had intercourse with one of the girls, who was under the age of 15. Mr Opocensky's lawyer has not yet decided whether to appeal Wednesday's ruling. However, the state prosecutor, unsatisfied with the low sentence, put forward an immediate appeal. Additional charges of sexual abuse against Mr Opocensky recently came to light - if found guilty under the combined charges Mr Opocensky could face up to eight years in jail.

Health authorities recommend shutting down week-long techno party

Czech health authorities are attempting to shut down an ongoing techno party taking place in a village some 60 kilometres northeast of Prague that has attracted tens of thousands of young Europeans. Officials from the Hradec Kralove regional health department said the sound blasting from the CzechTech music festival speakers exceeded legal decibel limits on Tuesday, and asked local authorities to pull the plug. But, it remains unclear whether regional representatives will enforce the recommendation. The regional hygiene office has been monitoring sound and sanitation conditions since the festival began on Friday. At its peak over the weekend the festival saw some 40,000 people attend.

Kladno court rejects Kinsky claim

A district court in Kladno, near Prague, has ruled against Franz Ulrich Kinsky, who had demanded the return of property owned by the local authorities and one company in the villages of Jarpice, Slapanice and Zlonice. In light of Wednesday's decision Mr Kinsky's lawyer said his client - the member of a branch of an extensive, formerly aristocratic family that lost its property after World War II - would take his case to the European Court in Strasbourg. Mr Kinsky had demanded that roads, forests and other property be returned to him, with one of the charges laying claim to an area of 20,000 squares metres now owned by a local firm. The court based its decision on the fact that the two villages and the company had owned their properties for more than ten years. Since 2001, Mr Kinsky has issued a total of 157 lawsuits, intent on reclaiming property once owned by his family.

Senate committee supports two nominees for Constitutional Court

Civic Democrat Senator Dagmar Lastovecka and lawyer Klara Veslea-Samkova have received support from a senate committee on constitutional law and will, in all likeliness, complete the current team of judges in the country's Constitutional Court. Mrs Lastovecka received unanimous support with 10 out of 10 votes, while Mrs Vesela-Samkova received six. Proceeding lasted only a short while, with Senator Lastovecka saying she had 'not been surprised by the result'.

Weather

It is expected that Thursday will see mostly sunshine and daytime temperatures of about 28 degrees Celsius.

30-07-2003