Daily news summary News

17-03-2004

Svoboda dismisses comments by Cuban foreign minister in Geneva

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda in Geneva, Switzerland for the 60th annual session of the UN Conference on Human Rights, has dismissed inflammatory comments made by Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque of Cuba. On Wednesday Mr Roque had harsh words for the Czechs, a reaction to the Czech Republic's past and current condemnation of Cuba's record on human rights. Mr Roque called the Czech Republic a 'contemptible lackey' of the United States and Washington, comments Mr Svoboda dismissed by indicating Czechs knew well what to think of totalitarian regimes. Between 1999 and 2001 the Czech Republic initiated a resolution by the UN commission condemning human rights abuses in Cuba, and currently a four-day event is underway in Prague marking solidarity with political prisoners jailed in Cuba last year.

Zelezny to run in elections to European Parliament

Senator Vladimir Zelezny, the former head of TV Nova, the Czech Republic's most successful commercial broadcaster, has announced plans to run in elections to the European Parliament in June. Mr Zelezny accepted the ballot for the so-called Independents, the 15th group to announce it will be fielding candidates in the up-coming elections. Mr Zelezny, who was elected to the senate almost two years ago despite facing charges of fraud in relation to his television career, has said if elected he would open a parliamentary office in Znojmo, south Moravia - the base of his senatorial constituency. Voting to the European Parliament will take place on June 11th and 12th. The full list of candidates however is to be submitted by April 6th.

EU Commission sources: Czechs behind in translation of legal documents ahead of European integration

According to EU commission sources the Czech Republic has found itself dismally behind in the translation of legal documents on European law just over a month before the Czech Republic joins the European Union. The drop-off in translations of binding laws into Czech is allegedly connected with a lack of staff and organisational changes at the government's revision centre, and the Czech news agency CTK has reported that unless the documents are fully translated the laws theoretically need not be legally binding come May 1st, the date of European accession. CTK reports that Czech Ambassador Pavel Telicka is to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla at the weekend.

Czech Senate likely to reject bill recognising Benes' contribution to the state

Voting in the senate committee on human rights has shown that the senate, as expected, will likely reject a proposed bill recognising Czechoslovakia's second president Edvard Benes' contribution to the Czechoslovak state. Five out of eight committee members voted against the bill Wednesday, indicating the special statute should be reserved for Czechoslovakia's first president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, a view shared by current president Vaclav Klaus. Other opponents of the bill have expressed disapproval the law was put forward by the Communist Party, or expressed disapproval of Mr Benes' role during and after World War II, blaming his policies then of paving the way for the communist take-over of 1948.

Czech mountaineers rescued in High Tatras

Two Czech mountaineers who spent the whole of Tuesday night lost and trapped on a cliff face in Slovakia's High Tatra mountains have been rescued and are now out of danger. The duo was discovered early Wednesday by a helicopter search crew and helped off the mountain by additional rescue teams. Both climbers have since been treated in hospital for hypothermia. So far this year Slovakia's High Tatras have proven deadly for Czech climbers: five people were killed in the first two months in either avalanches or falls.

Weather

Thursday is expected to be sunny with temperatures ranging between 12 and 18 degrees.

17-03-2004