Daily news summary News

20-08-2004

Freedom Union MP claims Civic Democrats offered bribe to bring down government

Freedom Union deputy Zdenek Koristka has said he was offered a large bribe by the opposition Civic Democrats not to support the government in a vote of confidence next Tuesday. Mr Koristka told Friday's edition of the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes a person acting on behalf of the Civic Democrats had offered him 10 million crowns (over 300,000 euros), a claim which has been strenuously denied by the party. Chairman Mirek Topolanek said he was considering filing charges of slander against Mr Koristka, who said he rejected the alleged bribe but did not report the matter to the police at the time. He has since been questioned.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Lubomir Zaoralek said the affair cast doubt on the credibility of Parliament, and Tuesday's vote of confidence might have to be postponed. The government has a majority of just one in the 200-seat Lower House.

Pribyl resigns as head of Office of Government

Pavel Pribyl announced on Friday evening that he was resigning as head of the Office of the Government, saying evidence had come to light that members of a riot-police unit he led beat up anti-Communist demonstrators in 1989. Opposition to Mr Pribyl's recent appointment by Prime Minister Stanislav Gross had been mounting; hundreds of people gathered outside the Office of the Government on Tuesday to call for his sacking, and another demonstration had been planned for next week.

Bank robber shot several times as police foil heist

An armed robber was hit several times in a shootout with police during an attempted robbery on a bank in Prague 4 on Friday afternoon. The injured man was taken to hospital while the other three members of the gang were arrested. Witnesses said police arrived on the scene moments after the robbery began. The bank has been robbed twice in the past.

Nine years for youth who stabbed teacher in class

A youth who stabbed his 60-year-old teacher to death at a school in Svitavy, east Bohemia, has been sentenced to nine years in prison by a court in Hradec Kralove. The court heard the 17-year-old had planned the killing for some time in advance. His mother immediately appealed the verdict.

Former policeman gets suspended sentence for aiding drug boss

A policeman who passed on information to a crime boss has received a one-year suspended sentence from a Prague court. Miroslav Tolar, who has been dismissed from the force, was found guilty of repeatedly giving information about police operations to an Albanian drug dealer.

Bronze in two-man kayak slalom third Czech medal at Olympics

The Czech team have taken their third medal at the Olympic Games in Athens, bronze for Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek in the men's two-man kayak slalom. Stepanek said the two had felt under immense pressure for the previous two days, and were extremely relieved Friday's final went well. Slovak twins Peter and Pavol Hochschorner took gold in the event.

Meanwhile, Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych was knocked out in the quarterfinals at the Olympics by Taylor Dent of the USA on Thursday evening. The 18-year-old from Prostejov had earlier beaten world number one Roger Federer. And Martina Navratilova will not realise her dream of crowning her career with a first Olympic medal, after she and her US doubles partner were beaten in the quarterfinals.

Among Czech medal hopefuls on Saturday will be Vaclav Chalupa, who won silver in rowing at the 1992 Olympics, and Vera Pospisilova-Cechlova in the discus.

Weather

Saturday should be partly cloudy with rain in some parts of the country. Temperatures are expected to range from 19 to 23 degrees Celsius

20-08-2004