Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

24-04-2001

Former SS officer on trial

An 89-year-old former guard at the Terezin Nazi concentration camp in today's Czech Republic goes on trial in Munich on Monday. He is accused of three counts of murder and one of attempted murder. It is the first trial of a former guard at the camp since it was liberated 56 years ago at the end of WWII. Prosecutors say ex-SS company leader Anton Malloth killed two inmates at the camp in January 1944 by training a powerful jet of water at their naked bodies for half an hour. They allege he clubbed a third prisoner to death a few months later and eye witnesses say he shot a fourth inmate who tried to steal a cabbage during harvesting work near the camp, although it is not clear whether he killed this victim.

Chinese Foreign Minister in Prague

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Tchang Tia-suan, who is currently in Prague on an official visit has told senior Czech politicians, including the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, and Chairman of the Senate, Petr Pithart, that differing views on various issues, such as human rights, would not affect Czech-Chinese relations. During talks with his Czech counterpart, Jan Kavan, on Monday, Mr. Tchang said that he was also happy with Czech-Chinese business relations and added that Peking was especially pleased with the export of thousands of Czech cars from the Czech Republic to China. However, Mr. Kavan told journalists that Mr. Tchang did not hide reservations he had over a few issues in Czech foreign policy, such as last year's visit by the Dalai Lama to Prague.

Czech MPs in Croatia

A delegation of Czech MPs, headed by Lower House Chairman, Vaclav Klaus, is currently on an official two-day visit to Croatia. During a meeting with their Croatian counterparts on Monday, the Czech delegates gave an account of their experiences during preparations for NATO and EU membership, as well as with the transformation of the Czech economy. They also discussed issues that stand in the way of the further development of Czech-Croatian business ties. The Czech delegation is scheduled to meet the Croatian President, Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister, on Tuesday.

Czech articles question EU membership

After meeting with members of the European Commission, on Monday, the Czech Republic's chief negotiator for EU enlargement, Pavel Telicka said that several senior members of the EC were unhappy with a number of newspaper articles published by Czech politicians. These articles did not, according to the commission, analyse the expansion process, but rather criticised and questioned its purpose and advantages for the Czech Republic. Mr. Telicka warned that negative attitudes like this could gravely influence the European Union's assessment of the Czech Republic.

Traffic noise increasing to dangerous levels

The head of the monitoring department of the State Health Institute, Ruzena Kubinova, told journalists on Monday that most environmental factors that influence human health, such as air pollution and high exposure to toxic materials in food, have decreased over the past few years. Mrs. Kubinova warned, however, that one of the greatest threats to the health of the Czech people, traffic noise, was on the increase. This, said Mrs. Kubinova, can lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, and in the worst case scenario, deafness.

250kg WWII bomb found in Plzen

Construction workers on the outskirts of the Western Bohemian city of Plzen had a surprising start to the day on Monday morning when they found a 250kg unexploded bomb on their construction site. Experts believe the bomb dropped on the city during an air raid on April 17th 1945, near the end of the Second World War. The bomb, which was buried some 2 metres beneath the surface, was removed to a safe distance by police pyrotechnics experts and members of the local fire brigade.

Italian sentenced to prison for murder

A 23-year old Italian citizen, Frederiko Belli, who has been charged with murder, has received a prison sentence of 12.5 years without parole from a court in the Moravian capital of Brno. In September last year, Mr. Belli is believed to have stabbed another Italian man 24 times in a hotel room in Brno and then to have stolen 64,000 Czech crowns, or close to 1700 U.S. dollars from his victim. Mr. Belli claimed that he was being blackmailed by the victim and that he had to stabbed him in self-defence.

Interior Ministry fights against prostitution

The Ministry of Interior has announced that it estimated some 4,000 to 5,000 people to be involved in a prostitution ring on Czech streets in 33 regions. It noted that most prostitutes are found in the regions close to borders with Austria and Germany and on the main motorways leading to Poland. The ministry added that there are 840 businesses offering such services, involving about 6000 more people. The ministry's press officer, Gabriela Bartikova pointed out that current legislation did not provide effective regulation of prostitution possible and added that the Interior Ministry was working on activities which would eventually help to change the entire system.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday will see clear to overcast skies with warmer temperatures ranging from 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. Occasional showers are expected at night with night-time temperatures dropping to 1 degree Celsius.

24-04-2001