News

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Czech Foreign Ministry welcomes Saddam execution

The Czech Foreign Ministry has welcomed the execution of the former dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein. In a statement the Ministry said his death was an important historic milestone and represented at least partial satisfaction for the families of Saddam's victims. In the short term his killing could cause instability in Iraq, but in the long term the end of the era of Saddam Hussein will move the country closer to stability and democracy, it said. Though the death penalty contradicts European values his execution should be looked at from the perspective of Iraq today, said the Foreign Ministry.

No definitive ruling yet on sanity of hospital killer, says lawyer

The lawyer for a hospital orderly who killed eight patients has said a definitive ruling has not yet been made regarding his client's sanity. Media reports on Friday suggested Petr Zelenka had been deemed sane and therefore responsible for his actions. However, lawyer Jan Herout told Saturday's Pravo that the speed of the assessment suggested it was dubious, adding that his client had the right to a second opinion. Mr Zelenka admitted in early December to using a blood-thinning drug to kill eight patients at a hospital in Havlickuv Brod, east Bohemia.

Russian remanded in custody after causing plane to make emergency landing

A Russian man who caused a plane to make an emergency landing in Prague has been remanded in custody. Yevgenii Dogayev has been charged with threatening air space security and breaching aviation regulations. On Thursday Mr Dogayev, who witnesses said was drunk, attempted to enter the cockpit of a plane flying from Moscow to Geneva before being tackled and tied up by fellow passengers. He faces up to 15 years in prison if found guily.

Documentary maker likely to be culture minister in possible government

Documentary film maker Helena Trestikova is likely to be named culture minister in a government currently being formed by Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek, the website Ceska media reported. Ms Trestikova would represent the Christian Democrats in the coalition, which would also include the Green Party. The three parties signed a coalition deal on Thursday, although the alliance is one vote short of a majority and would need the support of at least one rebel left-wing deputy. The grouping already lost one confidence vote.

The Czech Republic has been without a stable government since elections in June ended in stalemate.

Over 30,000 pupils injured at school

Some 33,000 pupils suffered injuries at school during the last academic year, according to figures just released by the Czech schools inspectors body. Two-thirds of those injuries were sustained at primary schools. A spokesperson for the inspectors organisation told Lidove noviny it was difficult to say whether the figures are high, as the survey had been carried out for the first time.

Almost 200 to take part in New Year's Eve show on Wenceslas Square

Final preparations are being made for a big New Year's Eve concert at the top of Prague's Wenceslas Square. Almost 200 singers and musicians, including Karel Gott, are set to take part in the event, entitled Mejdan roku (Party of the Year). Organisers say they expect around 50,000 people to attend the show, which is being broadcast live on television.

Weather

Weather forecasters say there will be dangerous ice around the Czech Republic over the next couple of days. They have also warned of strong winds. Temperatures are expected to increase by the early part of next week, and could reach up to 9 degrees Celsius.