Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

16-09-2003

Cermak appointed justice minister

President Vaclav Klaus on Tuesday appointed lawyer Karel Cermak to the post of justice minister. On taking office minister Cermak said his goal was to increase the level of understanding and cooperation between parliament, the government and the judiciary because without it there could be no progress. The minister said he was committed to carrying out the reforms initiated by his predecessor Pavel Rychetsky, who left the post in the summer to become a judge of the Constitutional Court. Karel Cermak is not party affiliated and his appointment has received broad political support.

PM will try to persuade rebel deputy

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said he plans to meet with Josef Hojdar a rebel deputy of the governing coalition in an attempt to persuade him not to vote against the government's planned fiscal reform. The announcement came shortly after Mr. Hojdar was quoted in a Czech daily as saying that he would "absolutely and clearly vote against the planned reform". The Czech government's future depends on this reform package and with a razor sharp 101 vote majority in the 200 seat Lower House the governing coalition needs full support from all its deputies. A leading Social Democratic Party deputy told the CTK press agency on Tuesday that there were no other rebels within the party.

Despite the reassuring statements, many political analysts believe that the government's days in office are numbered. The leading opposition Civic Democratic Party, which has strongly criticized the reform plan, says it will instigate a no-confidence vote in the government before the end of September.

Man goes to prison for ordering dog to attack friend

A man who ordered his dog to attack a friend and let the animal kill him before his eyes has received an eight and a half year jail sentence. The court found forty three year old Zdenek Sobola guilty of manslaughter. Sobola told the court he was so drunk at the time of the incident that he did not realize the consequence of his actions when he ordered the dog to attack his old friend. The attack is said to have lasted for over ten minutes and the diseased was literally mauled to death. The two men had engaged in some heavy drinking that night and were having a heated argument which ended in a tragedy.

Train-car collision

A train ploughed into a passenger car in the early hours of Tuesday, after the driver disregarded the flashing red lights at the rail crossing. The woman was killed instantly and the car was completely demolished. The police are waiting for the results of the autopsy to find out whether drink may have been the reason for her reckless driving. This is the third case of a train colliding with a car on rail crossings in as many days, four people died in the accidents. 117 such accidents have happened since the beginning of this year, resulting in 23 deaths. Traffic police have appealed to drivers not to underestimate the danger of disregarding warning lights at rail crossings.

Smuggler caught and sentenced

The driver of a truck who attempted to smuggle 18 foreign migrants across the Czech-German border has received a six months suspended sentence. The migrants, mainly from India, Iran and Iraq, were found crouching in the back of the van behind a pile of shoe boxes, among them eight women and children. All have been placed in Czech refugee camps.

Weather:

Wednesday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 20 and 23 degrees Celsius.

16-09-2003