Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

30-09-2003

Alleged insult to Islam strongly denied by Czech field hospital in Basra, Iraq

The commanders of a Czech military field hospital in the Iraqi city of Basra have strongly denied that Czech staff at the hospital circulated extracts from the Koran with disrespectful slogans written on them. The denial followed demands for an apology from an unnamed Iraqi religious leader, who threatened to lead protests against the hospital. A Czech Defence Ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday the claim was intended as a provocation, adding that local officials had distanced themselves from the allegation.

Civic Democrats call on MP Kott to give up mandate over alleged drunkenness

The opposition Civic Democrats have called on party deputy Petr Kott to give up his mandate in the Chamber of Deputies, after he missed important votes on Friday, allegedly because he was drunk. Mr Kott has said he did not turn up for the votes for political reasons, something senior Civic Democrat Vlastimil Tlusty described on Tuesday as a "lie", and just as "scandalous" as being drunk during voting. The Civic Democrats have threatened to expel Mr Kott from the party and its group in the lower house; however, they cannot force him to relinquish his seat. There have been some suggestions the governing coalition, which has a majority of just one in the Chamber, may try and win Mr Kott's support.

Public not informed of possible consequences of EU constitution, says president

President Vaclav Klaus has said the Czech government has not done enough to explain the possible consequences of a planned European Union constitution to the public. Speaking after talks with the Polish prime minister, Leszek Miller, who is in Prague on an official visit, Mr Klaus said both the Czech Republic and Poland needed to ensure they had a fair degree of power in the Union.

Czechs will not lift visa requirements for Canadians on accession to EU, says PM

The Czech Republic will not unilaterally lift visa requirements for Canadians after it joins the European Union next May, the prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, said on Tuesday. Mr Spidla was reacting to calls from Czech expatriates, who are holding a conference in Prague this week. The prime minister said the Czech Republic would only drop visa requirements as part of a mutual agreement with Canada.

Young man in critical condition after setting himself on fire

A young man is in intensive care after setting himself on fire near a Prague 5 petrol station on Monday night. A spokesperson for the Vinohrady hospital said the 18-year-old had 80 percent burns and was in a critical condition. Several people have set themselves on fire in the Czech Republic since a young man burned himself to death on Prague's Wenceslas Square at the beginning of March.

Bank in trouble over phone advertising campaign

The Office for the Protection of Personal Data has ordered eBanka bank to prove it obtained the phone numbers of potential clients with their consent. The head of the Office said on Tuesday the bank had clearly not received permission to use the numbers, which it obtained from its employees, in an advertising campaign during the summer. If that is proven the bank could have to pay a fine of up to 10 million crowns.

Weather

Wednesday should be quite sunny in many parts of the country and with a maximum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.

30-09-2003