News of Radio Prague

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District Court Judge ignores Supreme Court ruling

Four youths charged with a racially-motivated attack against a Roma man have been set free, after a district court judge ignored a ruling by the Supreme Court. The state attorney who filed charges against the youths has appealed against the district court's verdict, calling it "gross insubordination". The European Roma Rights Centre has also issued a strongly-worded protest. However a spokesman for the Justice Ministry said Judge Milos Kubicek had not overstepped his powers. Judge Kubicek told reporters that he respected the ruling of the Supreme Court but had no evidence to prove that four of the six youths accused of beating up the Roma man in a local pub had actually assisted in the crime. The Supreme Court, which weighed up the same evidence, arrived at the conclusion that it was a pre-mediated attack in which all six of the accused had a pre-arranged role, such as preventing customers from helping the victim. The case will now go to a regional court.

Czechs and Hungarians ask for fair treatment by EU

Meeting in Prague the Czech and Hungarian foreign ministers have said they don't want their countries to be second-class citizens in the European Union. This comes in the wake of news that the European Commission will back a German proposal to impose a transition period of up to seven years on the free movement of workers from newcomer states to current EU members. According to Reuters, an EU diplomatic source has confirmed that the Commission, the EU's executive arm, would propose a general transition period of five years, which any member state could unilaterally prolong by another two years. At a press conference in Prague, the Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan and his Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi stressed that these restrictions would contradict the EU's single market and argued that the EU should give newcomers all the advantages of membership, imposing restrictions only in the event of problems.

Central Bank may intervene against strong crown

The Central Bank says it may intervene against the growing value of the Czech crown on foreign currency markets. After a steady rise, the crown stabilised at 34.10 crowns per Euro on Tuesday, its highest ever value against the single currency. The vice-governor of the Central Bank, Oldrich Dedek, told reporters that while a strong crown would curb inflation there were other economic targets to consider, such as the country's growing foreign trade deficit. The Czech Finance Minister Pavel Mertlik has said the Central Bank could count on the Cabinet's support. According to the Finance Minister a strong crown could seriously damage traditional Czech exporters. "The current value of the crown is too high" Mertlik told reporters.

Ministerial aide takes the blame

Karel Srba, aide to the Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has resigned in connection with the scandal surrounding the terms of a lease of a building in the centre of Moscow. There have been allegations that the Czech foreign ministry closed a deal on the lease of the building that was in violation of international and Russian law. The Czech Foreign Minister has been under growing pressure from the media to reveal who is accountable or take full responsibility for the matter. Foreign ministry spokesman Ales Pospisil said on Tuesday that ministerial aide Karel Srba had accepted full responsibility for the lapse.

A man fined for selling Mein Kamf over the Internet

A Prague court has ordered a man who sold the Czech translation of Hitler's Mein Kamf over the Internet to pay a 100,000-crown fine. The judge said he was guilty of advocating a book which incites racial hatred. Vit Varak made a futile attempt to defend himself by arguing that he had only sold the book for profit.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast: Tuesday night should be cold and overcast with temps between minus 3 and minus 7 degs C. We can expect more snow showers in the course of Wednesday and temps between 3 and 7 degs. A slight warming is expected at the close of the week.