Daily news summary News

28-06-2005

PM Paroubek says he discussed human rights violations with his Chinese counterpart

The Czech Prime Minister, Jiri Paroubek, said on Tuesday that he discussed the sensitive issue of China's human rights violations with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao. Mr Paroubek refused to disclose any details but said the topic came up during talks on the EU arms embargo on China, an embargo that the Czech Prime Minister stressed was an issue between Beijing and Brussels that Prague could not influence.

Mr Paroubek, who is currently on an official visit to China, also said three agreements in the fields of the automobile industry, the environment, and finance are currently being drafted that would improve economic bilateral cooperation. According to the internet news agency Euro OnLine, Mr Paroubek declined offers by Chinese politicians to buy Czech 'Vera' radar systems.

Defence Minister Kuhnl: Estonia has purchased Czech radar system

On this note, the Czech Defence Minister Karel Kuhnl told the CTK news agency on Tuesday that Estonia has bought the Czech Vera radar system for some 100 million crowns (a little over 4 million US dollars). The only other foreign country that has purchased the system so far is the United States. The mobile system is able to discover the presence of a different radar system and determine its type without being revealed. It can monitor up to 200 planes simultaneously and is able to define the distance and altitude of any target with great accuracy.

NGOs launch "Czechs against Poverty" campaign

A new campaign called "Czechs against Poverty" was launched in Prague on Tuesday. Organised by fifteen NGOs (non-governmental organisations), it aims to show ordinary citizens and politicians how they can help reduce poverty in developing countries. While the goal is not to collect money for charity, it is to make Czechs take the initiative themselves and seek ways of helping citizens of poorer countries.

Choirmaster to stay in custody as state prosecution appeals court ruling

Renowned Czech choirmaster Bohumil Kulinsky is to remain in police custody, where he has been since November on suspicion of sexually abusing underage girls. Mr Kulinsky hoped he would be released after the Constitutional Court ruled that the two extensions of custody were in breech of the constitution and a Prague district court decided to release him. But the state prosecution appealed the verdict, arguing that he would influence witnesses and could even continue with the sexual abuse. Mr Kulinsky now has to wait for the court to make a ruling in a process that could take several weeks.

Mr Kulinsky is the director of the prestigious Bambini di Praga girls' choir. Since his arrest, over one hundred current and former choir members have come forward with accusations of sexual abuse.

Czech politicians commemorate Milada Horakova

Leading Czech politicians paid tribute to Milada Horakova on Monday, 55 years after Mrs Horakova, a democratic opposition leader, was executed by the Communists on trumped-up charges. The commemoration ceremony took place at Prague's Memorial for the Victims of Communism, at the foot of Petrin Hill. Among those to speak were Defence Minister Karel Kuhnl and Senator Martin Mejstrik, the latter heavily criticising the leadership of the communist party under Miroslav Grebenicek, suggesting the party leader should "beg for forgiveness". Prague's Lord Mayor also spoke saying there were still "many" who "despised democracy".

President Vaclav Klaus, who did not attend, sent a wreath that was laid at the memorial by the president's secretary. A minute of silence was held.

Weather

Meteorologists expect clear skies and the tropical weather to continue until Thursday afternoon. Rain and a cold front will have day-time temperatures drop to around 23 degrees Celsius at the end of the week.

28-06-2005