News of Radio Prague
Cabinet delays decision on same-sex partnerships
The cabinet has delayed indefinitely a decision on a proposal to give legal status to same-sex partnerships. The latest proposal is the fourth gay-rights measure considered by the government since 1997; all previous bills have either been quashed by the cabinet or defeated in parliament. Activists from the organisation Czech Gay Initiative said on Wednesday they hoped the new delay was just "technical" and that the issue could be considered next week. The largest party in the coalition, the Social Democrats, are in favour of same-sex partnerships, while the Christian Democrats are opposed.
Aristocrats threatening to sue Dostal over Nazi collaboration claims
Two aristocrats seeking to win property back from the Czech state are threatening to sue the minister of culture, Pavel Dostal, who they say told foreign journalists they had collaborated with the Nazis. Franz Ulrich Kinsky and Elisabeth von Pezold say if Mr Dostal does not apologise by the end of the week, they will seek an apology and financial compensation through the courts. Mr Kinsky has filed over 150 lawsuits against the Czech state, so far with little success, in his attempts to regain property confiscated from his family after the war. Ms von Pezold is the adopted sister of Karel Schwarzenberg, perhaps the best know Czech aristocrat who was chancellor to former president Vaclav Havel.
Czech police instructors to help train new Iraqi police force
Ten Czech police instructors have left for Jordan, where they will help train Iraqi police officers. The Czech officers will be divided into two teams and be rotated every six months, a police spokesman said on Wednesday. The training will be of both a practical and theoretical nature, and is being financed jointly by the Czech Interior Ministry and the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
Opposition leaders to boycott meeting over Czech European commissioner
The leaders of the Czech parliament's two main opposition parties, the Civic Democrats and the Communists, have refused to attend a meeting called by Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla to discuss the appointment of the Czech Republic's first European commissioner. Both parties are expected to send representatives to the meeting, though the Civic Democrats said they might boycott it altogether.
Senate gives green light to sending Special Forces to Afghanistan
The Senate has approved the sending of around 150 Czech soldiers to Afghanistan. The Chamber of Deputies is due to vote on the issue in the middle of February and the government hopes to send the troops, most of them members of the Czech Army's Special Forces, in the middle of April.
Demonstration held against industry minister's energy plans
Over a hundred people from all corners of the Czech Republic gathered outside the Office of the Government on Wednesday to demonstrate against Industry Minister Milan Urban's proposed energy policy. Mr Urban's plans to limit coal-mining and build a nuclear waste dump are to be discussed by the government in a month's time.
Thursday is expected to be cloudy with snow showers in places. The maximum temperature will be -1 degrees Celsius.