Daily news summary News

16-12-2006

Civic Democrats hoping to form coalition with Christian Democrats, Greens

The executive council of the Civic Democratic Party unanimously agreed on Friday to begin talks on forming a government with the Christian Democrats and the Greens. A previous attempt to form such a coalition failed as the alliance was one vote short of a majority. The Civic Democrats, who came first in elections in June, say this time they hope to win the support of deputies from other parties.

However, the Christian Democrats could scupper this plan: they say they will not take part in a coalition elected with the support of turn-coat deputies.

Meanwhile, the leftist Social Democrats have issued a call on two rebel MPs to return to the party's deputies group.

Pravo: Radio Free Europe security firm filming, photographing pedestrians

Operatives of a security firm which guards the Radio Free Europe building in Prague film and take photographs of "suspicious" pedestrians, Pravo reported on Saturday. While the RFE/Radio Liberty building is just off the top of Wenceslas Square, the plain-clothes security guards operate as far away as Mustek, at the very bottom of the square, said the paper, quoting a source close to the station. Pravo said the film and photographs are sent to secret services in the USA.

Police seize PCs over pirate software, illegal downloads in unprecedented raids on private homes

Police seized personal computers in raids on private homes in Kadan and Klasterec in north Bohemia, TV Nova reported on Friday. Fourteen PCs were impounded because their owners had pirated software or had illegally downloaded films from the internet. The raids were the first of their kind in the Czech Republic, said a police spokesperson.

Conference against US presence in Iraq underway in Prague

A two-day conference against the presence of US soldiers in Iraq is underway in Prague. The meeting, entitled Prague Appeal for Iraq, was originally due to be held at the Czech Parliament, but was moved to another venue after objections were raised.

Radioactive material found on site of former pig farm

Radioactive waste has been discovered on the site of a former pig farm in central Bohemia. Fire fighters and a specialist clear-up company are investigating on the site in Nalzovice. Fire officers had previously reported the presence of 100 tonnes of various chemicals there.

Funding for internet for schools project ceases

The plug has been pulled on a project to increase internet access in Czech schools, Czech Television reported. The Education Ministry was due to receive a billion crowns a year for this purpose until 2010, but deputies refused to approve it in the 2007 budget. The Association of School IT Experts condemned the move; a spokesperson said Greece was the only state in the EU with worse school internet provision.

Karosa brand name to disappear

The Czech bus maker Karosa is to be renamed Iveco Czech Republic from the beginning of next year, the company announced. It has been making buses since 1928. Karosa vehicles have a leading position on the Russian market and are also exported to states such as France, Germany and Finland.

Charges dropped against "meta-amphetamine diet" man

Charges have been dropped against an Ostrava man who advocated a weight-loss diet based on taking the meta-amphetamine pervitine. Dalimil Dobrota said on his website that slimmers were guaranteed to shed pounds if they took the drug and did not eat at all, and offered to send instructions on how to make pervitine at home. Police said they decided not to prosecute Mr Dobrota after coming to the conclusion that he was a "madman".

New Arabic-Czech dictionary launched

A new Arabic-Czech dictionary has been launched. Four authors spent a decade preparing the dictionary, which is based on the literary Arabic of the last 20 years. Around 40 students are admitted to study Arabic at Prague's Charles University every two years. It is also taught at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen and at language schools around the Czech Republic.

Weather

It should be largely sunny with occasional rain over the few days. Temperatures are expected to reach around 5 to 7 degrees Celsius.

16-12-2006