Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

24-02-2004

Government to meet to approve Telicka nomination

The government is to meet in a special session on Wednesday morning to approve the nomination of Pavel Telicka as the country's first EU commissioner. European Commission President Romano Prodi has given the Czech Republic until Wednesday morning to confirm the nomination. The meeting follows an embarrassing few days for the government in Prague, after the man originally nominated for the post - former Environment Minister Milos Kuzvart - told the cabinet he had changed his mind. The Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla collapsed after Mr Kuzvart's announcement and had to be taken to hospital.

Spidla to miss parliament session, wants to conserve his strength

Meanwhile Mr Spidla has excused himself from this week's sessions in the lower house, saying he wanted to conserve his strength after his recent health problems. Doctors say extreme stress and overwork contributed to Mr Spidla's brief collapse on Friday. The Czech prime minister is known as an early riser who often goes jogging before attending morning cabinet sessions.

Escaped Belgian convict back in Czech custody after failed jailbreak

A Belgian man who escaped from a Czech prison and sped across two international borders is back in Czech custody after being arrested in Hungary. The man, 42-year-old Debuyser Lutze, was detained in Budapest after speeding through the Czech-Slovak and Slovak-Hungarian border a week ago. The man managed to overpower Czech border police before making his way into Slovakia, where he later disappeared. Several hours later he was seen speeding through a Slovak-Hungarian border crossing at more than 100 miles per hour. The man will be charged by the Czech authorities with assaulting a police officer.

Marihuana grower wins appeal against tough prison sentence

A 22-year-old man who received an eight-year prison sentence for growing one marihuana plant and smoking cannabis with minors has won his appeal in court. The High Court in Olomouc ruled that the original sentence handed down to Josef Gerych was too harsh, and reduced it to a suspended sentence instead. Gerych was found guilty of offering his home-grown marihuana to a group of 14 young people, many of whom had never smoked cannabis before. The presiding judge told reporters that an eight-year-prison sentence would have been appropriate for a member of the drug mafia, but was too harsh for someone who stood to gain no profit from his actions.

Deputies pass bill praising former president's contribution to state

The lower house has approved a special bill that praises the contribution of the Czechoslovakia's second president, Edvard Benes, to the building of the Czechoslovak state. The text of the bill contains just one sentence, which reads "Edvard Benes contributed to the state." The bill must now be approved by the Senate and signed by President Vaclav Klaus. The bill was submitted by supporters of the late president, angry at attacks by some historians and politicians over Benes's role in the 1938 Munich crisis and the post-war Communist takeover.

Weather

Wednesday will be another cold and partially cloudy day, with occasional snow showers. Temperatures in the daytime will reach a maximum of 3 degrees Celsius, falling to lows of -3 degrees.

24-02-2004