Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

13-12-2003

Czech delegation returns to Prague after EU constitution summit collapses

Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and other senior officials have returned to the Czech Republic after a summit to decide on a constitution for the European Union ended in failure. Talks broke down on Saturday after Spain and Poland refused to surrender voting rights they won at the Nice summit, three years ago.

A Czech official told the CTK news agency that the inter-governmental conference could continue in the New Year, when Ireland takes over the presidency of the EU. The Czech Republic and nine other mostly former communist countries are due to join the Union on May 1.

Iraqi official tells US investigators he did not meet Mohamed Atta in Prague

A former Iraqi official has told United States investigators that he did not have a meeting in Prague with the suspected leader of the September 11 attacks, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Ahmad Khalil Samir al-Ani denied meeting Mohamed Atta in the Czech capital.

Though Czech officials had initially said that the two men had met, the CIA and FBI eventually concluded that no such meeting took place. A possible connection between Iraq and the September attacks was a reason used by some conservatives in the US to justify invading Iraq earlier this year.

Man dies when train hits car on level crossing

A man was killed near Jicin in central Bohemia on Saturday when his car was hit by a train at a level crossing at which there was no barrier. Another person was seriously injured in the collision, which is now being investigated by the police.

Chamber of Deputies launches campaign against pawn shops selling stolen goods

The Chamber of Deputies has launched a campaign against pawn shops which deal in stolen goods, passing a bill on Friday under which shopkeepers would have to ascertain the identity of clients. The bill's proponents said there were 1,800 pawn shops in Prague alone, many of which were open around the clock.

Bill passed on building weirs on Elbe despite protests from environmentalists

A bill was also passed on Friday allowing the building of two weirs on the Elbe River in north Bohemia, despite protests from the environment minister, Libor Ambrozek, and environmental groups. Mr Ambrozek said the building of the weirs would damage the eco-system in the areas in question and was in contravention of EU norms.

Weather

There have been warnings of gales and possibly tornadoes around the country between Saturday evening and Monday evening. Sunday is expected to see rain in many areas, with snow showers in some places. The maximum temperature should be 8 degrees Celsius.

13-12-2003