News of Radio Prague

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New centre-left government approves programme

The new centre-left government approved its programme on Monday, pledging to boost the welfare state and secure the Czech Republic's membership of the European Union in two years. A government spokeswoman said the final version of the plan was approved at Monday's cabinet meeting, a day before the government faces a confidence vote in parliament on its agenda. The government, a coalition of the Social Democrats and two centre-right parties, has a one-vote majority in the lower house.

Government approves proposed ban on tobacco advertising

The government approved a proposal banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship of events by tobacco firms. The proposal comes after parliament approved a similar law in May, only to have the Senate reject it weeks later saying the measure was too broad and should instead focus on protecting children and young people from tobacco products. The new centre-left coalition has vowed to push through the legislation. Some 60 people in the Czech Republic die each day from smoking-related illnesses, according to the World Health Organisation.

Government to launch projects to keep Roma from emigrating

The government also said on Monday it was preparing a number of projects to try and prevent members of the country's large Roma minority from leaving to seek asylum abroad. Ministers are to unveil a number of measures, including programmes to support education and employment for the Roma, the vast majority of whom live on social benefits. Thousands of Roma families have left the Czech Republic over the past five years, claiming they are subject to widespread racial discrimination.

Kavan resigns from EU Convention

Former foreign minister Jan Kavan has said he is to resign from his post in the European Union Convention, the body laying the foundations for EU expansion and reform. The resignation comes two weeks after one of Mr Kavan's former aides was arrested in an alleged plot to kill a journalist, although Mr Kavan denied there was any connection with the case. He said he was giving up the post to allow more time for his positions as chairman of the U.N. General Assembly and M.P in the lower house.

Police continue questioning metro attacker

Police are continuing their questioning of a Russian-speaking man who stabbed a policeman to death on Friday at one of Prague's busiest metro stations. A police spokesman said the man had given them his surname, which they were now trying to verify. The spokesman said Czech police were working with Russian colleagues. A 74-year-old passenger was seriously injured in the attack, which took place at Prague's Muzeum metro station. The policeman died instantly after being stabbed in the chest.

Weather

The hot and sticky weather is set to continue on Tuesday, with daytime temperatures reaching 26 degrees Celsius. There's a good chance of showers and storms in many parts of the country. Temperatures at night will fall to lows of 11 degrees.