Daily news summary News

29-01-2006

One Czech officially known to have died in Polish tragedy, two more feared dead

One Czech is officially known to have been among the 66 people who died when a hotel roof collapsed in the Polish city of Katowice on Saturday night. Meanwhile, a second Czech is believed to have been among the dead and yet another is unaccounted for.

The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, sent his condolences to his Polish counterpart, Lech Kaczynski. Mr Kaczynski had been due to visit Prague on Monday but cancelled the trip after announcing a day of mourning in Poland.

A group of Czech rescue workers have been helping look through the rubble of Saturday's disaster in Katowice, which is near the Czech-Polish border.

Government to help Dutch firm after factory closes doors

The government is willing to provide assistance to Dutch company LG Philips, which shut down a factory employing 1,300 people in Moravia on Friday. The minister of finance, Bohuslav Sobotka, said the government would use the instruments at its disposal to help the TV screen manufacturer, but did not specify how. He said it was a pity, however, that LG Philips had not informed the Czech state it was in difficulties until it had shut its doors.

Defence minister takes bribery affair as personal failing

The defence minister, Karel Kuhnl, has described a case of corruption uncovered at his ministry as a personal failing. Mr Kuhnl's spokesperson told Czech Radio the minister would not neglect to take responsibility in the case, in which the director of the Defence Ministry's infrastructure division, Miroslav Bena, was arrested after being caught last week allegedly accepting a bribe of one million Czech crowns (over 40,000 US dollars). It is the biggest bribery scandal involving the ministry in some years.

Coalition "no longer exists", says Christian Democrat leader

The three-party governing coalition has ceased to exist, says the leader of the second largest coalition party, the Christian Democrats. Miroslav Kalousek told Czech Television that the largest party, the Social Democrats, were counting on co-operating with the Communists after elections in June. But Social Democrat chief Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek,said his party had never considered, were not considering and would not consider any such a scenario.

Social Democrats vote on pre-election manifesto

The Social Democrats are to include direct elections to the post of president in their pre-election manifesto, after a vote on the issue at a policy conference in Prague. The party also promise to create 150,000 new jobs in the Czech Republic and to cut unemployment to 6 percent.

Weather

It should be cloudy over the next few days, with temperatures set to remain below freezing.

29-01-2006