News of Radio Prague

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Government awaiting parliamentary vote of confidence

The centre-left coalition led by Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla is trying to muster support for a parliamentary vote of approval, expected later on Wednesday. According to its policy statement released on Tuesday, the new government wants to secure Czech membership of the European Union by holding a referendum next year and carrying out legislative and institutional reforms to bring the Czech Republic in line with EU standards. The Czech Republic has closed 26 of the 30 chapters of legislation necessary for EU membership. Negotiations on the remaining chapters, which include agriculture and government finance, are expected to end by December. Although the Civic Democrat and Communist opposition who hold 99 of the 200 seats in parliament say they will not give it their support, the statement is expected to get the vote of confidence thanks to the government coalition's one-vote majority in the lower house.

Ambassador dismissed under "obscure circumstances"

The Czech Republic's ambassador to Pakistan has been relieved of his duties under "obscure circumstances", the daily Lidove noviny reported on Wednesday. Ambassador Petr Pribik told the newspaper he wasn't given an official reason for the recall. Mr Pribik said some cabinet members may have arranged his dismissal in retaliation for an argument with Defence Minister Jaroslav Trvdik and former Foreign Minster Jan Kavan in June over plans to visit Afghanistan and its new government leaders. The trip to Kabul was cancelled with only two days' notice. Mr Pribik was told to leave Islamabad by December, the report said, but he is appealing in hopes of extending his assignment. The Czech Republic and Pakistan have been cultivating closer ties since 1999, when the two countries signed a diplomatic agreement.

Latest round of British immigration controls discontinued at airport

The 13th round of British immigration controls at Prague's Ruzyne airport was discontinued on Tuesday. As of July 20th, British officers refused 78 people entry to the United Kingdom. In the previous round 82 people were denied entry to the UK. The controls, agreed upon by the Czech and British governments, are meant to prevent people from abusing the British asylum system. They were first introduced last summer after several waves of Czech Roma arrived in Great Britain in order to seek political asylum. This year, the asylum seekers are travelling by coaches rather than by air and many have been returned from the Czech-German border by German border authorities.

Plane forced to land as man threatens crew

An airliner flying from Prague to the Latvian capital Riga was forced to make an emergency landing on Tuesday after a drunken man from Lithuania physically attacked the crew. The plane returned to Prague's Ruzyne airport where the police arrested the attacker and charged him with attacking a public servant.

Homeless woman dies in fire

A 52-year old homeless woman died on Wednesday morning in a fire which broke out at an unused warehouse at Prague's Main Railway Station. A spokesman for Czech Railways said four people had been sleeping in the warehouse, two of them escaped in time, the whereabouts of the fourth are unknown. The fire did not cause any harm to passengers.

Weather

Thursday is expected to be cloudy with rain and occasional thunderstorms. Daytime temperatures should range form 21 to 26 degrees Celsius.