Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

13-09-2003

15,000 union members gather in Prague to demonstrate against reforms

Thousands of trade union members have gathered in Prague to demonstrate against the government's planned public finance reforms. At least 15,000 people from across the country gathered on Prague's Letna plain on Saturday morning, before marching towards the city centre. Demonstrators carrying banners and shouting slogans marched past the government headquarters. Union leaders say the reforms - which include plans to cut sickness benefit and pensions - will hit the poorest members of society. The government insists the reforms must go ahead, saying budget cuts are necessary to prepare the Czech economy for eventual adoption of the euro.

Rebel MP Hojdar: government will fall by Christmas

As the main opposition Civic Democrats continue preparations for a vote of confidence over the reforms, a rebel MP from the ruling coalition has said he believes the government will fall before the end of the year. Quoted in a newspaper interview, Social Democrat MP Josef Hojdar said he had still not decided whether or not to vote against the government in the confidence vote. The centre-left coalition has a majority of just one seat in the lower house, and Mr Hojdar's vote could be crucial to the government's survival. Mr Hojdar recently resigned from the Social Democrats' deputies' group, although he remains a member of the party.

Klaus sends condolences to parents of girl mauled to death by dog

President Vaclav Klaus has sent his condolences to the parents of a baby girl who was mauled to death by the family's dog on Friday. At the same time President Klaus called for the strictest punishment to be applied to dog owners who neglect their animals. The 18-month-year-old girl was killed on Friday as she was playing in the backyard of her house in the village of Kovansko, near Nymburk. The dog - a cross between a Labrador and a Doberman - has been taken away by the authorities. Police say they have no idea why the animal attacked the girl, the couple's only child. The parents are now receiving psychological counselling.

Children rescued from ruins of house in Frydlant

Police in the North Moravian town of Frydlant nad Ostravici say three children have been rescued from the ruins of a house which collapsed on Saturday morning. A police spokesman said the children were uninjured and were being treated for shock. The children's parents and grandmother were slightly injured in the incident. The house collapsed during building work.

Czech international Baros breaks ankle during Premiere League match

Football now and the Czech international Milan Baros has broken his ankle during an English Premiere League match. Baros, who plays for Liverpool, was taken off in the fourth minute of Saturday's game against Blackburn Rovers. Baros, 21, is one of the most important members of the Czech national team. He scored the final goal in Wednesday's 3-1 victory over the Netherlands, which saw the Czech Republic qualify for the 2004 European Championships.

Weather

Sunday will see a mixture of sunshine and showers, with rain in places. Temperatures will reach highs of 20 degrees Celsius, falling to lows of 7 degrees at night.

13-09-2003