Daily news summary News

03-09-2004

Driver of Avia truck charged in Hlinka case

The driver of a truck that collided with a vehicle belonging to ice hockey coach Ivan Hlinka in August, resulting in fatal injuries, has been charged with grievous bodily harm resulting in death. It is the second time police have filed the same charge against the driver, following a formal mistake the first time around. Nevertheless, a measure of controversy regarding the case remains, with the public prosecutor criticising police investigators for allegedly making mistakes at the accident scene; a major Czech daily has also claimed police failed to take note of important details connected with the crash.

Ivan Hlinka died in hospital in Karlovy Vary on August 16th, some time after his car was struck head-on.

Hoffman released from prison

Former communist functionary Karel Hoffman, who recently began serving a four-year prison sentence for treason, has been released on the grounds of ill health. A Prague City court ruled in favour of his release on Friday after consulting a new medical report put forward by prison doctors. The 80-year-old Hoffman had been found guilty of treason and sentenced to four-years in prison for having ordered public radio broadcasts to be halted at the time of the Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August, 1968.

Mr Hoffman was the oldest prisoner in the Czech Republic and his health is said to have seriously worsened in recent days. In total, he spent twenty-five days behind bars.

Standard & Poors lowers Czech Republic's long-term local currency rating

The international credit rating firm Standard & Poors has lowered the Czech Republic's long term local currency rating from A+ to A, in response to an apparent "lax" approach by the government to public finance reforms. On the firm's website Standard & Poors cited "deteriorating fiscal position" and poor prospects for "fiscal consolidation" leading to the ratings drop. The Czech Finance Ministry, however, has reacted by saying there was little reason for the change, saying the situation with public finances was improving year-on-year.

A worsening of current conditions could lead to a delay in the adoption of the euro, planned in several years' time.

Globtour travel agency in financial insolvency

The Slovenian-owned Czech-based travel agency Globtour announced financial insolvency on Friday, apparently leaving dozens of Czech tourists stranded abroad. Globtour cited "indifference" on the part of its parent company as the reason for its financial straits. The Czech insurance company where Globtour was registered has already begun taking steps to bringing Czech tourists home from abroad.

Meanwhile, thirty-six clients who were supposed to set-off for package holidays to Montenegro on Friday were not dispatched.

Czechs in action at US Open tennis tournament

Czech tennis players Jiri Novak and Michal Tabara have reached the third round of the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Open. Novak overcame Spain's Alex Calatrava on Thursday, while Tabara - who reached the tournament as a qualifier - beat Mardy Fish of the United States.

Tomas Berdych, fresh from his good run at the Olympics, is due to play Finland's Tuomas Ketola for a place in the third round.

Weather

Saturday is expected to see sunny weather with daytime temperatures ranging from 16 to 26 degrees Celsius.

03-09-2004