News of Radio Prague
Foreign Ministry advises Czechs not to visit India and Pakistan
The Czech Foreign Ministry has advised tourists to avoid all journeys to Pakistan and India warning that they may be unsafe destinations amidst friction that has been developing in recent days. Although several countries have pulled out their diplomatic representation, the Czech Republic has not taken similar steps yet, according to foreign ministry spokesman, Ales Pospisil. However, reported shooting around the border area that has resulted in a number of casualties has made the ministry wary of the level of security in the two countries.
Czech TV director cleared of charges
All criminal charges that were launched against Czech TV General Director Jiri Balvin in mid-May, have been dropped. Mr Balvin had faced charges in connection with outside-broadcast equipment, which Czech TV bought last July without issuing a public tender. Because there was no tender Czech TV has already been given a fine of over 2.5 million Czech crowns. Mr Balvin has insisted that all business transactions under his supervision were lawful, and all along has strongly denied accusations that he deliberately broke the law in order to favour the company CNTS with which he had earlier been connected.
People in Need calls for specialised volunteers to help in Serbian hospitals
The Czech-based People in Need foundation is looking for volunteers who would be willing to treat mentally ill patients in Serbian medical institutions. Medical students, social workers, teachers, psychologists and psychiatrists are all required to offer their expertise in institutions where limited financial support has resulted in a critical lack of staff. According to People in Need's Jiri Skvor, the hospitals in question depend on foreign humanitarian aid and are barely meeting the standards of other medical institutions in Eastern Europe. The specialised staff plans to begin its mission as early as in July.
Taxi drivers protest at anti-corruption campaign
Some 30 taxi drivers gathered on Prague's Letna plain on Monday to protest at the Town Hall's latest campaign against corrupt taxi drivers. The protesters called on the director of Prague Town Hall, Zdenek Zajicek to step down and demanded an increase in standard fares. According to their representative, Eduard Dudi, taxi drivers are ready to stage a blockade of a number of streets in central Prague if their demands are not met. At the moment, the standard fare per kilometre is set at 22 Czech crowns, or 70 U.S. cents. Prague's taxi drivers, however, claim that fare does not cover costs and demand it be increased to 35 Czech crowns or a little over one U.S. dollar.
Czech troops remember fallen soldiers with relay run
In memory of eleven Czech soldiers who have died in foreign missions since 1991, Czech troops participating in the Enduring Freedom mission completed a non-stop relay run in Doha, Kuwait, over the week-end. The run began at 5:00 p.m. on Friday and lasted 30 hours. Each member of the Czech contingent ran a 1,509-metre long track in temperatures reaching 43 degrees Celsius by day and 33 degrees Celsius by night.
Education ministry frees money for teachers' salaries
After months of protest at the irregularities of salaries amongst school teachers around the country, the Ministry of Education has agreed to free 155 million Czech crowns to be used to increase the salaries of teachers in 14 regions and equal them to teachers' wages in the rest of the country. According to the teachers' trade union leader, Jaroslav Rossler, the promised money is to be allocated to the regions this month.
State budget deficit decreases in May
The state budget deficit in May decreased to 32 billion crowns from 42 billion in April, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. During the first five months of the year, the state budget deficit reached nearly 30 billion crowns, which is over half the deficit approved by parliament for the whole year.
And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Monday night is expected to partially cloudy with occasional rain in the north-east and temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius. Tuesday will have clear skies in most parts of the country, turning cloudy towards the evening with occasional rain and thunder storms. Temperatures will peak at 26 degrees Celsius.