Daily news summary News

15-01-2005

Former health minister Marie Souckova has left the Social Democratic party

Former health minister Marie Souckova has resigned her position as vice-chairperson of the Social Democrats and left the party. She reportedly was offended by public statements of fellow party members relating to a controversial contract she brokered during her tenure at the ministry, which she left in April 2004. Souckova appointed the lawyer Zdenek Novacek to represent the state in a compensation case launched by the blood plasma company Diag Human. Novacek was to be paid 10 million crowns for taking the case and a further 170 million crowns if he won. Diag Human was seeking 360 million crowns in arbitration.

More than one million Czechs have made donations via SMS to charities aiding Southeast Asia relief effort

The number of Czechs to make made donations via mobile text messages to help the survivors of the Southeast Asian tsunami passed the 1 million mark on Saturday. The donations were made through the Donors Message Service, a charitable text-message system established last year in which all three mobile operators in the Czech Republic participate. The general public has donated well over 200 million crowns in total.

Memory of Jan Palach honoured

About 50 people turned out on Saturday to honour the memory of Jan Palach, a student who burnt himself to death 36 years ago in protest against the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Palach, a student at Charles University, set himself on fire in Prague's Wenceslas Square on January 16, 1969. He died of the burns a few days later. Palach was only 20 years old. His funeral at the Oslanske cemetery became a huge manifestation in support of freedom and democracy.

Government requests extradition from Liberia of fugitive Czech arms trader

The government has requested that Liberia extradite Czech national Dalibor Kopp, who is wanted on charges of illegal arms trading. Kopp, who fled the Czech Republic in December to avoid prosecution, was arrested last week by United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in Libya. He is accused of knowingly selling arms to Iraq despite an arms embargo and trying to cover his trail by first exporting the arms to Yemen. If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Several baby pacifiers on Czech market contain harmful substances

An independent research institution has found that of the 11 types of baby pacifier currently sold on the Czech market, three contain harmful substances. When ingested into the human body, the substances in question become carcinogens, attacking the digestive tract. The research was commissioned by a consumer protection association. The commercial channel TV Nova reported that one pacifier tested had ten times the prescribed limit of the substance.

Three women rob eighty-year-old woman at knifepoint

An 80-year-old woman was robbed in her home near the famous spa town of Karlovy Vary by three women who had gained entry into the disabled woman's apartment by posing as employees of the postal service. They pensioner was robbed at knifepoint of 500 crowns. In recent years, pensioners living alone have been regularly targeted for robbery and been victims of fraud.

Weather

Sunday should be partly cloudy, with daytime highs of 2 degrees Celsius.

15-01-2005