News of Radio Prague

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Verheugen rules out any link between Benes Decrees and EU accession

The commissioner for European Union enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, has confirmed that the debate over the controversial Benes Decrees will have no impact on the Czech Republic's accession to the EU. In a joint statement drafted with Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman on Thursday the comissioner said that the decrees were no longer legally effective, adding that property restitution was not a European matter, but a matter for the Czech Republic. In recent months the Benes Decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of some 2.5 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War, had been the subject of renewed discontent among Austrian, German, and Hungarian politicians. Some had called for the annulment of the Benes decrees as a pre-EU accession requirement for the Czech Republic.

Former Communist prosecutor found guilty in Tutter case

A Czech court has found a former deputy Communist prosecutor, Jaroslav David, guilty of abuse of office in the Werner Tutter case from 1966. The verdict does not carry a prison sentence since the case was dismissed under the statute of limitations, but David has appealed the decision. The former prosecutor was part of a Czechoslovak commission in charge of prosecuting Nazi war criminals after the war, including Werner Tutter, a Nazi officer responsible for the killings of dozens of civilians in Slovakia. The Nazi war criminal was given an earlier six year sentence, but won his freedom in 1953 by agreeing to collaborate with the Czechoslovak secret police. In the 1960s the Czechoslovak prosecutor's office tried to present a new case against Tutter for his role in the war, but backed down after higher officials intervened.

Former guard at Mirov given suspended sentence for Kajinek escape

A former prison guard at the maximum security Mirov prison in eastern Moravia has been found guilty of negligence leading up to the escape of convicted murderer Jiri Kajinek in the year 2000. Kajinek spent 40 days on the run before being apprehended by police in Prague. The former prison guard received a suspended eight month sentence, but is still considering an appeal. Another colleague charged in the case was found not guilty by the court.

Czech crown breaks the 30 crown per Euro mark

The strengthening Czech crown has set a new record for the first time ever, breaking the 30 crowns to the Euro mark. The Czech crown strengthened to 29.99 to the Euro on Thursday and could reach as high as reach 29.50 over the next few days unless the Central Bank intervenes again. On Wednesday Finance Minister Jiri Rusnok said that intervention was justified because the rate of the crown's strengthening does not correspond to economic development.

Trade Minister: Mitsubishi to go ahead with plans for Czech plant

Trade and Industry Minster Miroslav Gregr has said that the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has confirmed a plan to build a second manufacturing plant in the town of Slany, west of Prague. Mr Gregr said that the investment amounted to almost half a billion crowns, and would help create 120 new jobs. The Mitsubishi plant, which is going to be co-funded by the Koyo Seiko company and will manufacture car parts, is expected to begin operation by the end of next year.

Weather

Finally a look at the weather. Thursday night will see mostly clear skies, with a chance of showers in only a few places - temperatures will drop to between 3 and 0 degrees Celsius. Friday is expected to be partly cloudy with a possibility of showers and temperatures reaching highs between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.