The leadership of the ruling Social Democratic party met on Saturday to try to rally support for the bill on same sex partnerships which the President's veto has sent back to the lower house. A new vote on the bill is to take place in March and its definitive approval would require a majority of 101 votes. The Social Democratic party has recommended that its deputies support the bill and it will seek stronger backing for it across the political spectrum. The bill has evoked plenty of controversy over the past seven years and the most support it ever received in the lower house was 86 votes last December. Gay rights activists fear that the President's veto could send the bill back to square one. Its approval on the other hand would make the Czech Republic the first post communist state to legalize gay marriages.
A gas explosion in a Prague restaurant has left four people injured, two of them seriously. The explosion happened at eight thirty am local time on Saturday morning when several employees were already working on the premises. Fifteen people had to be evacuated from the building, which houses apartments on its upper floors. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
The Plzen regional court has sent Kosovo Albanian Faton Gasi to twelve years in prison for extensive drug trafficking. The court found him guilty of smuggling some 250 kilograms of heroin from the Czech Republic to Italy in 1998 and 1999. Two other men were heavily involved in the trafficking but one of them is dead and the other is reported missing. Gasi, who has lived in the Czech Republic since 1991, was earlier suspected of the murder of two Turkish businessmen, but the court cleared him of all charges on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
A Dutch tourist was injured by a heavy pile of snow which slid off a rooftop in the town of Jachymov on Saturday morning. The 40 year old tourist allegedly ignored warnings and went out to see what was happening when the first pile of snow came down from the roof of a nearby building. A much heavier load hit him several minutes later, causing multiple fractures, concussion and shock. He is being treated at a hospital in nearby Karlovy Vary.
The Czech Food Inspection Office says it has confiscated 19 tons of Chinese shelled nuts imported from the Netherlands because they were found to contain high levels of potentially cancer-causing substances, so called aflatoxins. Aflatoxins often occur in rotting food. The Food Inspection Office said that laboratory tests revealed that the level of these substances in the consignment of Chinese nuts far exceeded EU-established limits.
Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy with some scattered showers and day temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.
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