Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

11-08-2003

Michal Zitko, publisher of "Mein Kampf" translation, receives reduced sentence

A court in Prague has reduced a sentence and scrapped a fine for Michal Zitko, the publisher of the Czech translation of Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf". Mr Zitko was given a 22-month suspended sentence and three years probation for defaming the Jewish people on Monday. Two years ago, the same court imposed a longer suspended sentence and a 2 million Czech crown (71,000 US dollars) fine but that decision was rejected last year by the Czech Supreme Court and returned to the lower court. Mr Zitko claims he translated and sold "Mein Kampf" as a historical book, noting his company also published a Czech version of Karl Marx's "Das Kapital". But state attorneys argued "Mein Kampf" promoted neo-Nazism and anti-Semitism in the Czech Republic, where right-wing extremism spread after Communism fell in 1989.

Government drafts law on prostitution

The Czech government is drafting legislation aimed at licensing and taxing prostitutes, a measure that would be based on sex-trade laws in West Europe, a report said on Monday. The proposal, which parliament could start debating next month, would seek to allow the government to regulate women working in the country's estimated 850 brothels, currently operating legally but unregulated. According to the Interior Ministry, its proposal is similar to the one in effect in Austria where prostitutes must have licences. They would register at a local office and get a one-year licence that can only be renewed if they undergo monthly health exams. Officials estimate the country's untaxed prostitutes earn about 6 billion Czech crowns (214 million US dollars) each year. Czech lawmakers discussed but failed to pass a prostitution law in 1999.

Trade unions promise further strikes in protest at public finance reform plan

The Bohemian and Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions decided at its meeting on Monday to stage further strikes in protest at the government's public finance reform plan. The protest acts are to be held in September. According to the confederation's spokeswoman, Jana Kasparova, members also decided to approve three amendments to the public finance plan that will be presented to lower house deputies next month. The Czech Republic's trade unions have been voicing strong opposition to reform plans mainly in the areas of pensions, property tax, and sick-leave benefits.

Czech businessman murdered in Dagestan

Police in the Republic of Dagestan have identified the body of a 30-year-old man found in a river on Friday as that of a Czech businessman based in Prague. A Dagestan Interior Ministry official said on Monday that Martin Kraus was shot by two local robbers who have been arrested in the victim's car and with his personal belongings. They later admitted to the crime. Mr Kraus informed officials earlier that he was crossing southern Russia via Chechnya to buy up local handicrafts. According to the CTK news agency, Mr Kraus had also left a message in the agency's Moscow office before he was killed, which said that he had information about an unjustly convicted person in the Russian capital.

Weather

Tuesday will start off as another hot day with temperatures between 29 and 33 degrees Celsius. Skies should turn cloudy towards the afternoon, bringing scattered showers in the evening hours.

11-08-2003