Daily news summary News

22-02-2005

Klaus, Gross in Brussels for NATO conference

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, in Brussels on Tuesday for a NATO summit, said discussions between the US president, George Bush, and European leaders showed that differences of opinions over some issues had not affected the fundamental basis of transatlantic relations. Mr Klaus held brief talks with Mr Bush, and the US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice.

Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who was also in Brussels on Tuesday, said NATO had a future and would play a key role in securing the stability of Europe.

All parties discuss strategy ahead of Wednesday coalition crisis meeting

Both government and opposition groupings in the Czech parliament have been holding party meetings to discuss the ongoing crisis in the governing coalition. The talks came ahead of a meeting due on Wednesday between the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats which could determine whether the government continues in its present three-party form.

Christian Democrat chairman Miroslav Kalousek has called on Prime Minister Stanislav Gross to step down over a flat-financing scandal. However, Mr Gross has told the Christian Democrats to either back down or leave the cabinet.

Army to double number of planes guarding air space during Bratislava summit

The Czech Army is to increase the number of planes protecting Czech air space during a summit between the presidents of the United States and Russia in Bratislava later this week. Whereas there are usually two MiG 21 fighters guarding the skies above the Czech Republic, there will be four for the duration of the summit, with another in reserve. A Czech offer to help guard Slovakia's air space was not accepted.

Romany woman first to sue hospital over alleged forced sterilisation

A Romany woman from Ostrava in north Moravia is set to be the first Czech woman to sue a hospital for damages after allegedly being sterilised against her will. The daily Lidove noviny reported on Tuesday that Helena Ferencikova, who is 22, is seeking compensation of between 100,000 and a million Czech crowns (almost 45,000 US dollars). The paper says around 60 women say they were sterilised either against their will or without the operation being explained sufficiently.

Czech tourist accidentally causes large forest fire in Chile

A Czech tourist who accidentally started a forest fire in Chile has received the maximum fine of 200 dollars and been allowed to leave the country. After the Czech camper's stove overturned 5,500 hectares of woodland was burned in four days, said a spokesperson for the Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia. The Czech was reportedly camping outside authorised territory.

Prague airport closed due to snow

Prague's Ruzyne airport was closed for some time on Tuesday due to snow and poor visibility. However, a spokesperson said conditions were not as bad as last Wednesday, when the airport experienced its worst weather for a decade and was closed for over 10 hours.

Meanwhile, customs officers at Prague airport on Monday arrested a Slovak man attempting to smuggle protected rare parrots from Jamaica.

Weather

It should continue to snow in the coming days but we can also expect a few more bright spells. Temperatures will range from minus 4 to 0 degrees Celsius.

22-02-2005