Daily news summary News

02-03-2004

Juvenile killer in custody

A sixteen year old Czech student who stabbed his teacher to death on Monday has been charged and taken into custody. The student attacked his sixty four year old teacher in class, inflicting fatal wounds with a hunting knife. The teacher died shortly after being rushed to hospital. It is not yet clear what motivated the attack. A new law, which came into effect this year, requires the police and media to keep secret all information that could reveal a juvenile suspect's identity. The student being a minor, he will be tried in a closed court and could face up to ten years in prison. The tragedy has sparked a debate on the growing incidence of violence at Czech schools.

Parliament approves key nature protection law

The Lower House of Parliament has approved a crucial nature protection law which will establish a network of protected areas on the territory of the Czech Republic. The approved version of the bill gives the Czech Environment Ministry the right to decide about exemptions to the law. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President before it can go into effect. Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek said on Tuesday that if the Czech Republic fails to bring the law into effect by May 1st, the date of its accession to the EU, the country could face steep fines and lose its right to access EU environment funds.

Prague court confirms Thai sentences for drug smugglers

Emil Novotny and Radek Hanykovic, who were convicted in Thailand for heroin smuggling, have had their sentences confirmed by a Czech court. Emil Novotny is to serve 34 years in a high security Czech prison, Radek Hanykovic, 17 years. The two men were released to the Czech authorities by the Thai government in January, to allow them serve the rest of their sentences in the Czech Republic. One condition of the agreement was that the length of sentences not be reduced, even though Czech law allows a maximum of 15 years for all drug-related crimes.

PM angry over Belgium's labour market restrictions

The Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has expressed disappointment with Belgium's decision to restrict access to its labour market for Czech citizens after the country joins the EU in May. During talks with the Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt in Prague on Tuesday, Mr. Spidla said he thought that the restrictions were unjustified both economically and socially. Belgium has decided to join Germany and Austria in introducing tough labour market restrictions for a period of two years, after which the matter is to be re-evaluated.

Labour minister plans to uncover violations of labour code

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach has proposed that undercover agents work to uncover violations of the labour code at various work places. The minister told the CTK press agency that the idea was being given serious consideration since employees were frequently afraid to testify on such matters, fearing that it would damage their future work opportunities. Trade unions have welcomed the idea, large companies, such as supermarket chains, are less than enthusiastic.

Hankook may build plant in Czech Republic

South Korea's Hankook tyre manufacturing company is considering investing up to 500 million US dollars to build a plant in the Czech Republic, a source close to talks on the matter told Reuters news agency on Tuesday. A move by Hankook, the world's ninth-largest tyre maker in terms of sales, would follow in the footsteps of compatriot Hyundai Motor Company, which chose neighbouring Slovakia as the site for a new 700 million euro (870 million US dollar) car plant.

Weather:

Wednesday should bring overcast skies and scattered sleet or rain showers. Day temperatures between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.

02-03-2004