News Monday, JULY 17th, 2000

Havel compiles complaint for Constitutional Court

Czech President Vaclav Havel has asked the Constitutional Court to remove some parts of the controversial new election law. Last week, the Lower House of Parliament passed the law for a second time, thus overriding the president's veto. The new law will favour larger political parties and make it harder for smaller parties to obtain political representation. The law was proposed by the two largest political parties, the ruling Social Democrats and the opposition Civic Democrats, who keep the government in power via a power sharing agreement. It has been heavily criticised by the president and the smaller parties. According to the president's spokesman, Vaclav Havel wants the court to investigate whether the new law contravenes the rules for elections as laid down in the Czech constitution. The smaller political parties have welcomed the president's move.

Kavan and Levy discuss Middle East peace process

As part of his official visit to Israel, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has met with his Israeli counterpart David Levy. The focus for the meeting between the two was the Middle East Peace Process. At a press conference after the meeting, Mr. Kavan said that the Czech Republic is a consistent supporter of the peace process and the Czech government is doing everything it can to support the process.

Austrian Minister calls for evaluation of Temelin

The Austrian Minister for the Environment, Wilhelm Molterer has called on the EU to carry out an international evaluation of the Temelin nuclear power plant. According to Mr. Molterer, this should be undertaken to find to the impact of Temelin on the environment, and should be done before any irreversible steps are taken at the plant. The minister said that Austria does not have enough information available to judge whether Temelin meets international nuclear safety standards.

Schily: Czech government not fighting child prostitution

According to the German Interior Minister, Otto Schily, the Czech government is not doing enough to fight child prostitution. The Czech authorities do not share enough data with their German counterparts, Mr. Schily said in an interview for Der Speigl, and close co-operation is needed to fight this type of crime. Mr. Schily also believes that the Czech police should be more proactive in tackling criminals involved in child prostitution, and that if the Czech Republic wants to join the EU, its police force will have to meet European standards in fighting child prostitution.

Spielberg to make Holocaust documentary

Director Steven Spielberg has announced plans to produce five one-hour documentaries on the Holocaust, which will cover five countries, Poland, Argentina, Russia and Hungary and the Czech Republic. The documentaries will be available in all these countries during 2001. Czech director Vojtech Jasny, who was a partisan in WWII, and whose father was sent Auschwitz, will help produce the documentary of the Czech Holocaust.

Chilean hockey team in bus crash

The bus carrying the Chilean in-line national hockey team crashed in Central Bohemia. One member of the team died on the spot, and nine others were injured, two of them seriously.

Prime minister to pay fine for slander

Prime Minister Milos Zeman is to pay a fine of 20,000 Czech Crowns, or roughly five hundred dollars, for comments he made concerning former MP Josef Wagner. Mr. Wagner was a member of the Social Democratic Party, just like the prime minister, and was excluded from the party after he supported the then coalition government's budget proposal in 1996. After Mr. Wagner's removal from the party, Mr. Zeman, then the leader of the opposition, said that no-one wanted Mr. Wagner, not even the Communist Party. Mr. Wagner then sued Mr. Zeman and won. The prime minister was meant to apologise within two years, or pay a fine. That time period is up, and the prime minister will now have to comply with the court ruling.

And finally the weather forecast. The weather will continue bleak on Monday, with overcast skies and rain showers in places. Temperatures during the day should reach between fourteen and eighteen degrees. Temperatures during the night should be between eight and twelve degrees. I'm Nick Carey, and that's the end of the news.