News of Radio Prague

Havel's condition improving

Czech President Vaclav Havel is apparently recovering well in hospital after suffering from an irregular heartbeat, and should be able to return to work on Thursday. President Havel was taken ill on Monday after boarding a plane to Italy, where he was due on an official state visit. Havel, who is 64-years-old, was rushed to hospital, after his heart rate soared to around 140 beats per minute. On Tuesday he underwent electric shock therapy to bring his heartbeat down to normal levels, and his personal physician, Dr Ilya Kotik, announced on Wednesday that the Czech president should be able to return to his normal routine on Thursday. Havel is expected to recuperate at the presidential villa of Lany just outside Prague and take up his normal duties as soon as possible.

Government approves amendment to immunity of public officials

The Czech government has approved a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would limit the immunity of Czech public officials. The amendment would remove the immunity of any Czech officials, including the president and Members of Parliament, suspected of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and violent crimes that would fall under the jurisdiction of the International Tribunal in the Hague. The amendment, if passed by both houses of parliament and signed by the president, will also limit the powers of the president to issue pardons. This, the government said on Wednesday, would bring the Czech Republic's legislation in line with the Statute of Rome which deals with the International Tribunal in the Hague.

BIS: no terrorist threat for Czech Republic

The Czech secret services say that they have no evidence of any terrorist threat to the Czech Republic. According to Jiri Ruzek, the head of the country's civilian intelligence service, the BIS, no information has been uncovered that could lead the country's secret services to believe that there is any feasible threat of terrorist activity against the Czech Republic. The head of the military intelligence service, Zdenek Novak, told the Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday that the security situation in the Czech Republic is good, and that there is no need for exaggerated fears over safety following the terrorist attacks on the USA two weeks ago.

Extra soldiers to reinforce police in emergency

On a related note, on Wednesday the Czech government approved a package of security measures proposed by Interior Minister Stanislav Gross to improve security if the Czech Republic is attacked by terrorists. In the event that an attack takes place, the country's police force will be reinforced by up to 1,500 soldiers. These troops would be used for any security or rescue operations that would arise following such an attack.

Constitutional Court receives bomb threat

The Czech Constitutional Court has received an anonymous bomb threat. The bomb threat was received a few days ago, signed with the name Muchtar, stated that a bomb attack would be launched on the court, which is located in the South Moravian capital of Brno, on Wednesday. According to a representative of the court, no extra security measures were taken after the threat was received, as these measures were introduced two weeks ago following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The letter was apparently written using cut out letters from different newspapers, and left in the main mail box of the court a few days ago. No clues were given in the letter as to the real identity of the person behind the threat.

Number of Czechs missing in USA stands at 39

The number of Czech nationals who are still registered missing after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th has dropped to 39. The Czech Foreign Ministry, however, believes that only a core group of that number, of roughly ten to fifteen people, could have been directly affected by the attacks. The ministry believes that the rest of the Czech nationals who have been reported missing were unlikely to have been in New York or Washington at the time of the attacks.


And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Thursday in the Czech Republic should see cloudy to overcast skies, with rain showers in places. Daytime highs could reach 17 degrees Celsius. This cold and wet weather is expected to continue through at least until the weekend.