Daily news summary News

19-05-2004

PM calls for joint EU policy as regards Balkans

The Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has stressed the need for the EU to agree on a joint policy with regard to the Balkan states before it opens its door to newcomers from this region. The Prime Minister said that the west Balkan states presented a potential hotbed of tension comparable to the situation in the Middle East and that only a united front from the EU could keep future conflicts in check. Czech support for Croatia's accession is linked to that pre-requisite, the Prime Minister stressed.

Football hooligans arrested

The police have arrested eleven football fans in connection with the vandalism accompanying the Czech-Moravian Cup final on Tuesday. Eight of the fans have been charged with vandalism, two with attacking a public official and one with supporting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms. The group allegedly vandalized seats at the football stadium, attacked police officers and one gave a Nazi salute. The police say they have plenty of evidence including a video-tape of the incident.

Czech Republic sending medical team to Basra

The Czech Republic is preparing to send six army doctors and nurses to Iraq, where they will reinforce medical staff at the Shaiba base near Basra. The move comes in response to a British request. Czech army doctors and nurses worked in Basra till the end of 2003 when the 7th field hospital ended its operation in southern Iraq and was replaced by a team of 80 military police officers. The medical team should be ready to depart in June.

Fresh hope for gays and lesbians

The Czech Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light to a bill which would allow gays and lesbians to enter into marriage. The so called "bill on same sex registered partnerships", neither received recommendation nor an outright rejection -merely free passage to the Lower House where, as on previous occasions, it is expected to evoke heated debate. The Cabinet itself is split over the issue with the Social Democrats and Freedom Union in favour of approval, the Christian Democrats vehemently against. The bill has met with repeated rejections in the Lower House. On this occasion it was initiated by Freedom Union deputies in Parliament since the coalition government has an unwritten agreement not to initiate any more bills on this controversial issue.

Weather:

Thursday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with afternoon highs between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.

19-05-2004