Daily news summary News

21-12-2004

Last 2,000 conscripts in Czech Army to go home Wednesday

The last 2,000 conscripts in the Czech Army are due to leave their barracks on Wednesday, ending 140 years of compulsory military service in the Czech Lands. Throughout the year the Army has gradually been replacing conscripts with career soldiers. The move makes the Czech Republic one of the first countries in the region with a professional military. However, Joint Forces Commander Josef Sedlak warned on Tuesday of overly high expectations of the new army. He also said professionals could expect tougher training than their conscript counterparts.

Radioactive leak at Temelin not dangerous, says spokesperson

Around 20,000 litres of radioactive water leaked out of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the southwest of the Czech Republic on Monday. According to a spokesman, the leak, caused by a water-level measuring problem in a reservoir, was contained within a limited area and did not pose a risk to the environment or to workers' health. Temelin's opponents say it is unsafe and should be shut down.

Notorious "Spartakiada killer" to be released after 19 years

One of the country's most famous murderers, the man known as the "Spartakiada killer", has been freed after almost 19 years. A court in the Moravian town of Opava agreed to a request by Jiri Straka that his status be changed from inmate at a mental institution to out-patient. At the age of 16 Mr Straka murdered and raped three women and attempted to kill two others in Prague during the 1985 Spartakiada, a mass gymnastics event.

Most members of Ostrava ice hockey team released after fatal crash

Most members of the Ostrava ice hockey team injured in a motorway crash on Monday have been allowed home. The team's trainer Karel Metelka died in the accident, which occurred when their bus crashed into the back of a truck a short distance from Beroun, where the team were due to play a match.

Pakistan court sentences two for murder of Czech tourists

A court in northern Pakistan has sentenced two Pakistani men to life in prison for murdering two Czech tourists Petr Polasek and his girlfriend Gabriela Gubicova in April 2001. One of the men convicted is still on the run and was sentenced in absentia.

Dismissal for police officers charged with abuse of power

Two police officers charged with abuse of power have been dismissed from the police force. Zdenek Pichlik and Petr Sima, whose field was organized crime, were arrested by a team of inspectors from the Interior Ministry and have been in custody since Saturday.

Coalition cannot agree on new head for Supreme Audit Office

The vacant position of head of the Czech Republic's Supreme Audit Office is unlikely to be filled during the term of the current government, Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach said on Tuesday. He said the three parties in the coalition were unable to agree on a replacement for Lubomir Volenik, who died almost 18 months ago.

Mobile operator Eurotel loses appeal against fine for abuse of dominant position

Mobile phone operator Eurotel has failed in a court appeal against a fine of 48 million crowns (over 1.5 million euros) for abusing its dominant position on the Czech market. Eurotel and another operator Radiomobil were found guilty in 2002 of charging customers more for calls to a third operator than between their own networks.

One senator spends more than half Senate travel budget: MfD

More than half of the Senate's budget for flights has been spent by one member from north Moravia, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported Tuesday. Ondrej Feber, the senator for Karvina, said that he flew so often because he needed to be close to his voters.

Two get awards from president for saving life of drowning baby

President Vaclav Klaus has presented awards to two people who saved the life of a baby girl who fell into a river in Krnov, south Moravia, two weeks ago after her grandfather had an epileptic fit. Jan Balas rescued the baby from the icy river before Eva Mazurova provided resuscitation. The girl is now home and well and is due to spend Christmas with her family.

Weather

The current freezing temperatures should rise to up to plus 8 degrees Celsius in the next few days. It should also become somewhat cloudy with rain or snow showers in places.

21-12-2004