Daily news summary News

31-08-2004

Straw addresses Czech ambassadors, meets senior politicians

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, held talks with his Czech counterpart, Cyril Svoboda, on a visit to Prague on Tuesday. Mr Straw, in the Czech capital to address a meeting of Czech ambassadors, said fears of problems in the UK with immigration from new member states after European Union enlargement had proved unfounded. He also said the Union should open accession talks with Turkey; Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said he is in favour of closer links with Turkey, and possibly its membership of the EU.

As well as meeting Mr Svoboda and Mr Gross, Britain's foreign secretary held talks with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and future European commissioner Vladimir Spidla.

Future European commissioner Spidla gives up seat in Chamber

Meanwhile, Mr Spidla - who resigned as prime minister in June - gave up his seat in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday. He will be responsible for social affairs and employment when he joins the European Commission on November 1.

Svoboda floats idea of Czech-German army unit

Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda told a meeting of Czech ambassadors a joint Czech-German army unit could be established within the framework of EU defence policy, the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. However, the issue has not been discussed with Germany, or within the Czech government.

Six boys aged 11 to 18 charged with brutal killing of woman, 81

Six boys aged between 11 and 18 have been charged with the murder of an 81-year-old woman from the village of Olesnice in east Bohemia. The 34-year-old father of two of the boys is also alleged to have taken part in the killing, which took place on August 12. Police had originally believed the killing was the work of one 12-year-old, who was on the run from a home for young offenders. The alleged perpetrators have admitted planning to rob the old woman; when she attempted to defend herself they stabbed her to death with scissors. Several hundred crowns, or less than 15 euros, was stolen from the victim's house.

Supreme Court rejects appeal from notorious killer couple

The Czech Republic's most notorious serial killers, Jaroslav Stodola and his wife Dana, have had an appeal against life prison terms rejected by the Supreme Court in Prague. The couple were found guilty of eight murders and two attempted murders. Most of their victims were elderly and alone, and from small villages. The police came in for a great deal of criticism for failing to suspect foul play in the deaths of several of the couple's victims.

Czechs off to losing start at Ice Hockey World Cup

The Czech Republic's ice hockey team were beaten 4:0 by Finland in Helsinki on Monday evening, in their opening game at the hockey World Cup. It was the Czechs' first game under Vladimir Ruzicka, who replaced the late Ivan Hlinka as coach. The Czech Republic's next game is against Sweden in Stockholm on Wednesday.

Confusion over future of footballer Jankulovski

There is some confusion over the future of Czech footballer Marek Jankulovski: his Italian club Udinese announced on their official website they had sold him to CSKA Moscow for around 10 million euros, but the player says he has no intention of signing for the Russian club. Jankulovski, who can play in defence or midfield, was one of the stars of the Czech team which reached the semi-finals of the European Championships in Portugal.

Weather

Wednesday should be partly cloudy with temperatures ranging from 17 to 21 degrees Celsius.

31-08-2004