Daily news summary News

14-05-2004

Amnesty International criticises Czech Republic over arms exports

The human rights group Amnesty International has issued a report in which it criticises the Czech Republic for insufficient control of arms exports. It said weapons produced in the Czech Republic were sold to states such as Yemen and Sri Lanka with a history of diverting arms to other countries. For its part, the Czech Ministry of Defence said Amnesty International had not put forward a reasonable alternative. A spokesman said the organisation's only suggestion was to cease selling weapons altogether, which was "unrealistic". Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a statement on Friday saying it had not authorised any arms exports which contravened European Union regulations.

Almost all Czech football clubs involved in bribery, policeman tells daily

Up to 14 of the 16 football clubs in the Czech first division have had some involvement with bribery, a police source told Friday's edition of the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes. In the last two weeks, five referees and a senior official from Synot football club have been arrested on charges of match-fixing, in what is being described as the biggest scandal in the history of Czech football. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Czech football association, Jan Obst, said on Thursday he expected police to charge five to seven more people, most of them referees. Police are currently investigating every Czech league game played this season.

Iraqi governing council member asks Czech culture minister for help

The culture minister on Iraq's governing council, Mufid al-Jazairi, has asked the Czech culture minister, Pavel Dostal, to send Czech experts to Iraq to help repair damage done to cultural artefacts during the war and during the previous regime. Mr al-Jazairi also held talks in Prague on Friday with Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who has just been released from hospital after injuring his neck in a car crash.

Pilsen man sets himself on fire, in critical condition

A 29-year-old man has been taken to hospital with severe burns after setting himself on fire in the west Bohemian town of Pilsen, police said on Friday. There have been several cases of self-immolation in the Czech Republic since a young man burnt himself to death on Prague's Wenceslas Square in March last year.

Havel misses opening night of own play due to illness

Vaclav Havel has had to cancel his appearance at the opening night of a production of his play Pokuseni, or Temptation, at Prague's Estates Theatre; the former president is suffering from a lung inflammation, the latest bout of a bronchial illness which has been afflicting him for several years. Seven years ago Mr Havel, formerly a heavy smoker, had part of his right lung removed because of cancer.

Senior posts up for re-election at Communist Party conference

The Communist Party are holding a conference in Ceske Budejovice on Saturday and Sunday, with several senior party posts up for re-election. Miroslav Grebenicek is expected to retain his leadership of the Communist Party, which has recently seen an increase in its support.

Seven arrested with alleged 31 million dollars in forged cheques

The police have arrested seven people who allegedly planned to cash forged American bank cheques worth almost 31 million dollars. The gang were caught in possession of the counterfeit cheques in the north Moravian city of Ostrava on Thursday, though police say they are still looking for whoever was responsible for forging the cheques.

Weather

Saturday is expected to see bright spells earlier in the day, with rain in many parts of the country in the evening. The maximum temperature will be 18 degrees Celsius.

14-05-2004