News of Radio Prague

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Senate approves law on TV & radio broadcasting

The Senate has narrowly approved a new law on television and radio broadcasting, in a vote which has surprised many observers. A total of 39 of the 73 senators present in the 81-seat upper house voted in favour of the new law, amending the regulations for TV and radio broadcasting in the Czech Republic. The law was supported by the centre-right Civic Democrats and the ruling Social Democrats, but was expected to fail due to the majority of the opposition Four-Party Coalition, who oppose it. But in a surprising move three senators belonging to the Four-Party Coalition voted in favour. The law now goes to President Vaclav Havel for approval.

Czechs relax foot-and-mouth cattle ban

The Czech Republic has relaxed a ban on the import and transit of animals at risk from foot-and-mouth disease, restricting the ban only to those countries which have recorded cases of the disease - Britain, the Netherlands, France and Ireland. The measures come into effect on Saturday. There is still a ban on all meat and dairy products being brought into the country at airports.

Police break up suspected forced prostitution ring

Police in North Bohemia say they have broken up a seven-member gang, who allegedly forced girls as young as 15 to work as prostitutes. A police spokeswoman said the gang ran a string of brothels in the Czech Republic, using girls lured from Slovakia. Police found a total of 30 girls working in the clubs, and many had been subjected to physical violence. At the same time police in Slovakia arrested eight people believed to be involved in luring the girls to the Czech Republic.

Police launch investigation after finding mother and son dead

Police in North Moravia are investigating the deaths of a 72-year-old woman and her 47-year-old son, who had officially been declared missing since late April. Police officers discovered their two bodies in the garage of their house. Police believe the man killed his mother and then committed suicide.

Czech air force chief resigns

The Commander of the Czech Air Force, Ladislav Klima, has announced his retirement from the armed forces. He will be replaced by the first deputy chief-of-staff, Frantisek Padelek. Mr Klima said he was retiring for personal reasons, although he is known to be unhappy with the state of the Czech Air Force, which many pilots say is in crisis. Mr Klima was angered by comments made by a number of politicians who suggested the air force did not need to buy new supersonic jet aircraft, to replace its fleet of ageing MiG fighters.

UDV completes investigation

Investigators at the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism (UDV) say they have completed their investigation into two former high-ranking Communists, accused of treason for their role in the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Former Communist Party functionaries Jozef Lenart and Milos Jakes, later Party leader, are accused of plotting to create a worker-peasant state to replace the legitimate Communist government, in secret talks at the Soviet embassy. The talks took place one day after Warsaw Pact troops occupied Czechoslovakia on August 21st, 1968. A spokesman for the office said the case would now be submitted to the prosecutor's office for further consideration. Several previous attempts to convict the men have failed.

Havel files charges over porn website

President Havel has asked prosecutors to file criminal charges against a man who used his wife's name as an Internet address for a pornographic website. A presidential spokesman said the hard-core porn site bearing Dagmar Havlova's name violated the law by causing "serious harm to her personal rights". The site's content implies that the first lady is involved in pornography. Mrs Havlova, 48, is the president's second wife. She was a famous film, stage and TV actress before marrying Mr Havel in 1997, a year after the president's first wife, Olga, died of cancer.

Weather

Saturday will be another cloudy day, with more rain and isolated storms in places. Daytime temperatures will reach a high of 17 degrees Celsius.