News

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Social Democrats meet on Rip Hill

Hundreds of Social Democrats gathered at Central Bohemia's Rip Hill on Saturday for a meeting of party liners. In what has become tradition ahead of elections, they ceremoniously climbed up the hill where the first Czechs are believed to have settled. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is on a two-day visit, led the crowd. At the event, Mr Schroeder praised the ruling coalition Social Democrats for the country's large economic growth and said Mr Paroubek was a valuable party member and has been helping to increase their chances of winning the elections in June.

Mr Schroeder and the Hungarian and British Prime Ministers Ferenc Gyurcsany and Tony Blair are all planning to come to Prague towards the end of the election campaign to support the Social Democrats' efforts in winning another term in government. Social Democrat party liners first met on Rip Hill before the elections in 2002 to announce their party manifesto and launch the election campaign. They gathered there again in 2004 before the elections to the European Parliament.

Coach accident

A coach with Polish tourists crashed into a stationary lorry on the D5 motorway near Rokycany, western Bohemia, early on Saturday morning. The driver was injured seriously and five passengers lightly. Police say after the accident, a passenger car crashed into the back of the bus but saw no injuries. The police are investigating the cause of the accidents.

TV Nova: Police find explosive device at Prague railway

Experts are examining a functional explosive device that has been found under a highly frequented railway in the Prague-Liben district, TV Nova has reported. The vessel with an unidentified liquid, wires, and igniter with batteries, was found by chance by police officers who were pursuing a suspected thief. It has already been confirmed that the device was not assembled by an amateur, TV Nova reports.

Thousands attend open-air techno party

Several thousand people from the Czech Republic and other European countries are raving at the CzaroTekk techno party despite showers and light snow. The open-air festival is being held on private property close to the Bohemian town of Krasna this weekend. The techno lovers are being closely monitored by the police.

Brazilian officers under investigation for extorting money from Czech and US tourists

Two police officers from a special unit designed to help tourists in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have been arrested for extorting money from a Czech national, the Reuters news agency has reported. Not satisfied with about 260 US dollars they got from the Czech as well as a US national for allegedly possessing drugs, they accompanied the two tourists to their hotel to get more money. A spokesman for the Rio state security secretariat said the tourists alerted hotel security guards who called the police and the two officers were arrested on the spot.

The state security spokesman says there is no investigation or case against the tourists. The officers were charged with exceeding their authority and an investigation is underway to determine if they planted drugs on the tourists.

State Health Institute: smokers with will power can win 10,000 US dollars

Czech smokers should take part in an international smoking cessation contest called Quit and Win, the National Institute of Public Health announced. The purpose of the contest is to give adults an incentive to gather the will power to abstain from smoking and using tobacco products for at least four weeks in May. Winners are then drawn among all successful participants. Czech candidates can win twice. If they are selected in the national part of the competition, they win a trip abroad; a lucky draw in the international part wins them an extra 10,000 US dollars.

43rd Golden Prague (Zlata Praha) television festival

The 43rd international television festival, Golden Prague, opens in the Czech capital's Congress Centre on Saturday. The festival will run until May 5 and focuses on music and dance on the television screen. Dozens of contributions from 24 countries are participating this year. Golden Prague is one of the oldest television festivals in the world.

Weather

The extended weekend is expected to see heavy rain and even snow in some parts of the country with daytime temperatures ranging between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists forecast levels of smaller rivers and water bodies could rise high enough to put some areas on flood alert.