Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.
Police investigators are searching for clues to Wednesday´s helicopter crash in South Bohemia, which killed two members of a rapid deployment unit and left two others seriously injured in hospital. A police spokesman said the accident happened during parachute training over the Orlik reservoir near the town of Pisek. Eyewitness reports say one of the parachutes opened too soon, causing it to snag on the helicopter´s tail rotor. The helicopter then appeared to spin out of control before crashing in a campsite on the banks of the reservoir.
The Senate has ratified the European Social Charter, the document which lays down the fundamental social and economic rights of citizens of the European Union. The motion was supported by 60 of the 77 Senators present in the upper house. It was opposed by seven senators from the right-wing opposition Civic Democratic Party. Ratification by the Senate means that the Czech Republic is obliged to incorporate the principles of the Charter into Czech legislation. Among these principles are the right to work for a fair wage, the right to organise in unions and the right to health care and social security. The Czech Republic is one of five former eastern bloc countries involved in fast-track accession talks to join the EU.
The government has released details of the draft budget for the year 2000. The budget will include revenues of 568 billion crowns and expenditures of 607 billion crowns, with a 40 billion crown deficit. The government said spending on education, public sector reform, European Union entry and support for business were priorities. It also announced a ten-percent increase in spending on pensions, social security and employment policies.
The legal representative of witnesses to the killing of a forty-year-old Roma man, who died after being attacked by skinheads in North Moravia last year, was himself assaulted on Wednesday by a group of skinheads. The man, Jakub Polak, was attacked in a restaurant in the town of Karvina, where five skinheads are currently being prosecuted for threatening and insulting witnesses during the trial into the Roma man´s death. They shouted racist abuse at Roma witnesses in a waiting room outside the courtroom, as several of their friends were inside the courtroom being tried for manslaughter. Mr Polak said one of the youths who assaulted him in the restaurant on Wednesday was one of the five skinheads being tried. A senior employee of the President´s Office was with him in the restaurant and was also assaulted.
A Czech man who was extradited to Prague on drugs offences has claimed he cannot stand trial in the Czech Republic because he is still being prosecuted by the Columbian authorities for the same offence. Vaclav Novotny-Urban, who stands accused of involvement in an international drugs smuggling ring, arrived in Prague on Tuesday following his extradition from Colombia. The state prosecutor handling the case said in his view that even if Mr Novotny-Urban was being prosecuted in Columbia this would not have any effect on the criminal proceedings in the Czech Republic. Mr Novotny-Urban, who is now in custody, faces up to fifteen years in prison if convicted.
Finally a quick look at Thursday´s weather. It will be another hot and mostly sunny day in the Czech Republic, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 31 degrees Celsius in places, falling to lows of 9 degrees tonight. Scattered showers and storms are forecast for some parts of the country.
And that's the end of the news.
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