News of Radio Prague

Women still discriminated against in the Czech Republic

According to a government report women in the Czech Republic are still discriminated against in certain areas of life. The report says that women still make on average 25% less money than men, very few women hold government or parliament posts and many are victims of domestic violence. Labour and Social Affairs minister Vladimir Spidla who compiled the report says that despite amendments to the law which should guarantee full equality of the sexes it is proving difficult to change the existing state of affairs largely due to women's passive attitude. Women don't fight for their rights in court and in general Czech society appears to have little interest in the problem as such, minister Spidla told the CTK press agency. The report places great emphasis on the need for a public debate, cooperation with the media and non-governmental organizations who defend women's rights in the Czech Republic.

Prague mayor suspects corruption among civil servants

The mayor of Prague Jan Kasl has handed over to the police documents relating to several cases of suspected corruption among civil servants. The move follows speculation in the media that civil servants frequently take bribes from the public especially when allotting state flats and approving building permits. The mayor said he would not comment on the cases in question but he said that if his suspicions proved correct they would be "serious offenses".

Big clean up in the wake of tornado

A clean up operation is underway in the Moravian town of Helvetin following damage wrought by a tornado on Tuesday afternoon. The tornado –which is believed to have originated in Austria – took the inhabitants of the town by surprise, damaging 30 roofs and a car but leaving no casualties. The material damage has been estimated at over 1 million Czech crowns. Meteorologists say it was fortunate that the tornado was weak. It reached 100 km/hr whereas strong tornadoes are known to reach 360 km/hr. Some 20 tornadoes are recorded yearly in this country but the majority of them cause only material damage.

Slovak soldier has fatal accident in Kosovo

A Slovak soldier serving in the Czech-Slovak contingent of the international peacekeeping force in Kosovo met with a fatal accident on Tuesday night. According to a CTK press agency report the soldier was helping to guide a military vehicle in rough terrain under cover of darkness when he slipped and fell under its wheels. The incident is being investigated.

Cardinal Vlk says the Church deserves better treatment

The Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has complained about alleged efforts to marginalize the role of the Catholic Church in society. In an in-depth interview conducted on the eve of his seventieth birthday, the Cardinal said that in Czech society there was a tendency to isolate and marginalize the role of the Catholic Church and make the faith a private and personal matter. The trend in Europe is the exact opposite but we are sadly lagging behind, Cardinal Vlk noted, attributing this fact to more than four decades of communism. The Cardinal said that despite this he was optimistic about the future, because since the fall of communism people had gradually re-embraced spiritual values.

Two men charged after adventure trip on the Vltava ends in tragedy

A state attorney has filed charges against two men for inflicting grievous bodily harm through negligence. The men organized an adventure boat trip on the Vltava river, one of the highlights of which was a mock attack by pirates. During the show the crew fired a real canon, injuring a 9 year old boy in the process. The child sustained severe brain damage. The state attorney said the men had no license to operate a canon and that they had seriously underestimated the question of public safety in organizing the adventure trip. If found guilty they face up to five years in prison.

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast:

Thursday should bring partly cloudy skies and day temps between 20 and 25 degs C. The weather is expected to improve still further over the next two to three days with sunshine and a record high of 30 degs C forecast for Saturday.