Daily news summary News

24-10-2004

Buttiglione attacks Spidla

The EU Italian commissioner-designate Rocco Buttiglione has attacked the Czech candidate for Euro commissioner Vladimir Spidla in the Italian press, labelling him "a tough ex-communist". In an interview for the Italian daily La Stampa Buttiglione said he wielded almost no powers as far as discrimination was concerned. The main portion of them had been assigned to Czech Vladimir Spidla - a tough ex-communist in whose hands the principles of freedom were surely guaranteed, Buttiglione reportedly told the paper. Mr. Spidla has refused to comment on the remarks. His spokeswoman only pointed out that Mr. Spidla had never been a member of the Communist Party. Buttiglione's controversial statements on homosexuals and women allegedly threaten the fate of the whole new EC.

Police bug President's friend

The police allegedly tapped the phone of a close friend of President Klaus, listening in to some of his conversations with the head of state. According to Saturday's Lidove Noviny the police bugged entrepreneur Ranko Pecic, for at least three months, enabling them to listen in to his phone conversations with the President but also with the Civic Democratic Party leader Mirek Topolanek. According to the paper, a Prague court approved the tapping, but the then interior minister Stanislav Gross was not aware of it..

These revelations come just hours after President Klaus asked the interior minister to consider sacking the police president for some ill-advised remarks he made with regard to phone tapping. In connection with the investigation of an alleged bribery case in which the police tapped the phone of at least one high placed politician, the police president noted that tapping of private phone conversations was a normal police practice which did not infringe on people's rights and should not bother citizens as long as they are innocent. Police diffuse explosive devise in the centre of Prague

Police investigate foiled terrorist attack

The police are investigating a planned terrorist attack which presented a serious public threat in the very centre of Prague last Friday. Someone planted a fully functional explosive device outside a nightclub at the top end of Wenceslas Square, where thousands of people pass daily. According to experts it was the work of a professional, and posed a serious danger. The police say it was immensely fortunate that a passer by noticed the abandoned plastic bag placed next to one of the night club's limousines and alerted the police. It is not clear whether the terrorist attack was directly aimed at the Darling Cabaret nightclub. Its owners say they have received no threats of any kind. The incident comes just three months after a grenade explosion injured 18 people outside a casino in Prague's Prikopy street.

Koristka says he's told the police "everything"

Freedom Union deputy Zdenek Koristka, who has been at the centre of a highly publicized bribery scandal for several weeks now, says he has told the police specifically who offered him a ten million crown bribe and the post of ambassador to Bulgaria in return for a no-confidence vote in the Gross Cabinet. The case was under investigation but the charges against two men whom Koristka labelled as the offenders had to be withdrawn due to lack of evidence. Koristka originally refused to specify certain details, saying that he would give a full account in court. Now he says he's told the police everything, despite the fact that it might have serious consequences for himself and his family.

Weather:

Monday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

24-10-2004