Daily news summary News

25-10-2004

President wants full explanation of alleged bugging of his conversations

President Vaclav Klaus has requested that he be informed in detail about allegations the police bugged phone calls made to him by a businessman, the newspaper Lidove noviny reported on Monday. Two days previously the daily said the police had listened in on calls made to Mr Klaus by Radko Pecic, a good friend of the president's under investigation in connection with a fraud case.

Wire-tapping has been in the headlines for several weeks, since the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats said his phone had been bugged since he was elected two years ago. At the end of last week, President Klaus called on the interior minister to dismiss the chief of police, after the latter made statements evidently making light of wire-tapping.

The president is due to discuss the matter with Prime Minister Stanislav Gross on Tuesday.

Klaus writes to Lukashenko to express disquiet over Belarus referendum

Mr Klaus has sent a letter to the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, saying he is disquieted by reports about the country's recent referendum, which allows the president to serve more than the previous limit of two terms. The Czech president said there was evidence of irregular voting in the poll.

Over 600 workers at steel company sign up for redundancy deal

Over 600 employees at steelmakers Ispat Nova Hut have accepted severance pay equivalent to 25 months' salary, a spokesman for the north Moravian company said on Monday. Ispat Nova Hut plans to lay off 2,000 of its 11,000 workers by the end of the year. The redundancy pay offer - which is unusually generous by Czech standards - is open to employees until the middle of November.

Production of cars to increase by two-thirds in next seven years

The production of cars and small vans in the Czech Republic should increase by two-thirds by 2011, according to a study by analysts PricewaterhouseCoopers released on Monday. Skoda is currently the country's leading carmaker, but a new plant producing Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot vehicles is due to go into operation in the central Bohemian town of Kolin next year.

Former Sparta boss escapes second prison term

The former owner of Sparta Prague football club, Petr Mach, has been found not guilty of large scale fraud by a court in Prague. Mr Mach had been accused of not repaying a bank loan of 160 million crowns (over five million euros). He was released from prison last year after serving a two-year term for not paying import tax on a luxury car.

Thirteen-year-old found with throat cut in Moravian town

An investigation has begun into the killing of a thirteen-year-old boy in the north Moravian town of Sumperk. His body was found on Monday morning; his throat had been cut and he also suffered other stab wounds.

Study of costs of Prague hosting Olympics to be released soon

A study into the costs of Prague hosting the Olympic Games in either 2016 or 2020 should be completed by the end of the year, the city's mayor, Pavel Bem, said on Monday. Mr Bem said while holding the Games in the Czech capital would cost over 100 billion crowns, they would still be cheaper than other recent Olympics.

Czech football coach Zeman takes small club to second place in Italian league

Czech football coach Zdenek Zeman is making the headlines in Italy, after taking the small club Lecce to second place in the country's first division. He has played down the club's successful start to the season, saying their main aim is still to avoid relegation. A former coach at Lazio and Roma, Mr Zeman sparked a huge controversy in 1998 when he raised questions about possible drug-taking in Serie A.

Weather

After record temperatures on Sunday, it was again unseasonally warm in the Czech Republic on Monday; at Prague's Clementinum weather station it was 18 degrees Celsius at 3 in the afternoon. Tuesday should be partly cloudy and between 12 and 16 degrees.

25-10-2004