Daily news summary News

03-04-2006

Week-long state of emergency declared in half country's regions

The Czech government has declared a state of emergency in seven of the country's 14 regions after severe flooding last week and at the weekend. It is set to remain in place until midnight next Monday. The regions in question are South Bohemia, Central Bohemia, Usti, Pardubice, South Moravia, Olomouc and Zlin.

Meanwhile, evacuation measures in Znojmo, south Moravia have been called off. Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes there last week when the River Dyje burst its banks.

As rescue workers and soldiers continue to work flat out to shore up flood defences around the country, a search is underway for a boy feared drowned in North Bohemia. The six-year-old is believed to have fallen into a rivulet of the River Svatava on Sunday. Seven people are reported to have died due to the floods.

Water levels are dropping on most of the country's swollen rivers, but there have been warnings that warming could lead to more problems in the middle of the week.

Little chance of US lifting visa requirements, says ambassador to Prague

The United States ambassador to Prague, William Cabaniss, says there is little chance of the US lifting visa requirements for Czechs in the near future. But speaking after a meeting with Mr Cabaniss at the US embassy, Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said he believed the United States would change its position and lift the restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Czech ambassador to Washington, Petr Kolar, told Mlada fronta Dnes the Czech Republic would use a number of avenues to try to lobby US congressmen to support the abolition of visa requirements for Czechs, which he referred to as a strategic mistake.

Greens now have over 10 percent support, suggest new poll

The Green Party are gaining more support ahead of June's elections, suggests a poll carried out by the Factum Invenio agency. Some 10.5 percent of respondents in a poll conducted at the end of March said they would vote for the Greens, up from 9.1 percent in the middle of the month. The Civic Democrats continue to lead the polls, with almost 30 percent support, while just over 25 percent said they would vote for the governing Social Democrats.

Bahamas to consider Czech request for Kozeny extradition first, says Nemec

The Bahamas have promised to consider a Czech request for the extradition of Viktor Kozeny before looking at a similar appeal from the United States, Czech Justice Minister Pavel Nemec said on Monday. His officials were in the Bahamas last week for talks with local authorities. Mr Kozeny, dubbed the Pirate of Prague, is wanted in the US and the Czech Republic on charges of large-scale fraud.

Long cold winter leads to record consumption of natural gas

The long cold winter led to record consumption of natural gas in the Czech Republic in first quarter of this year, according to figures just released. Gas usage was up 7.5 percent on the same period in 2005, with the highest daily consumption in the last week of January, when temperatures of around minus 17 degrees Celsius were recorded.

Weather

It should be bright with rain in places over the next few days. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 12 degrees Celsius.

03-04-2006