Daily news summary News

30-01-2005

Czech Army may stay in Iraq beyond end of this year, says minister

Czech military police may stay in Iraq longer than previously expected, the foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda, said on Sunday. The Czech parliament recently voted to extend the mission of the unit until the end of this year. But Mr Svoboda said they would remain in the country as long as the Iraqi government considered their presence "useful and beneficial". Around 100 Czech soldiers are training local police officers in the south of the country.

Czech-based Iraqis travel to Berlin to take part in elections

Meanwhile, around 70 Iraqis based in the Czech Republic voted in Iraq's elections in Berlin on Saturday. The Czech NGO People in Need ferried two busloads of Iraqi exiles to polling stations in the German capital. Around 300 Iraqis live in the Czech Republic, and the Foreign Ministry said some of them were likely to have made their own way to Berlin.

Prime Minister Gross to sue daily over reporting of personal finances

The prime minister, Stanislav Gross, says he plans to sue the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes for its reporting of his personal finances; the daily said Mr Gross had not officially earned enough to cover the cost of his luxury flat in Prague. The prime minister on Saturday presented tax documents which he said proved he had earned more than the price of the property. But he refused to discuss a loan he says he took from his uncle, who says he borrowed the money from other relatives outside the Czech Republic.

Social Democrats agree "action plan" at party conference

Mr Gross's party, the Social Democrats, have agreed what they call an "action plan" to try to win voter support. At a conference in Prague, delegates voted to cut taxes for people on middle and low incomes, though the details have not yet been worked out. The party will maintain its policies of free third level education and health care.

The Social Democrats also presented a new programme called "English for All" to try and improve Czechs' skills in the language. Stanislav Gross, who himself does not speak English, said the plan envisaged higher pay for English teachers.

The party now has to present its policy proposals to the other two parties in the governing coalition.

International group arrested in Hradec Kralove over internet child pornography

Four people including a Briton and a German have been detained in Hradec Kralove on suspicion of distributing child pornography via the internet. The Briton and one Czech citizen have been remanded in custody, said a Czech prosecutor. She said British and German police had helped in detecting the group, which she described as highly dangerous.

Weather

The next couple of days should be cloudy with rain and snow showers in places. Temperatures should rise to a maximum of 4 degrees Celsius in the middle of the week.

30-01-2005