News Saturday, FEBRUARY 03th, 2001

By: Nick Carey

Bures appointed Justice Minister

The former head of the Prague High Court, Jaroslav Bures, has been officially sworn in as Justice Minister by President Vaclav Havel. Mr. Bures' predecessor, Otakar Motejl, resigned last September after failing to pass justice reforms through the Lower House of Parliament. The main tasks facing Mr. Bures are justice system reforms and fighting economic crime. After his appointment, Mr. Bures called for justice and a unified approach from the courts, and that his intended reforms will speed up the work of the courts and state prosecutors.

Russian Foreign Minister visits Prague

Igor Ivanov, the first Russian Foreign Minister to visit Prague in seven years, has met leading Czech officials to discuss improving relations and Czech NATO membership. In talks with Czech President Vaclav Havel, the two men agreed that Czech membership in NATO should not hinder relations between the two countries. President Havel also handed Mr. Ivanov a formal invitation for Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the Czech Republic. Mr. Ivanov also met with his Czech counterpart, Jan Kavan, and they agreed to set up regular Czech-Russian political talks. Mr. Ivanov's visit is a sign of thawing relations between the two countries, which have been strained in recent years.

Fourteen-year-old boy murders father

A fourteen-year-old boy has stabbed his father to death in the town of Uherske Hradiste in southern Moravia. The boy was apparently physically abused by his father, and the murder followed a severe beating the boy received over poor report card results. The boy, who has not been named, called emergency services at around 4 o'clock on Wednesday morning. When an ambulance team arrived, they found the man dead with multiple stab wounds, and his son, who was slightly injured, in possession of a knife. The boy has confessed to murdering his father, and police say that no charges have been filed at this point. Instead, they have requested that the boy receive psychiatric help before proceeding any further with the case.

Temelin safety talks begin in Vienna

Experts from the Czech Republic and Austria, and representatives of the European Commission have begun talks in Vienna on the safety of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. The aim of the talks is for Austria to air its concerns over safety at Temelin, an issue that has severely strained relations between Austria, which has a nuclear-free policy, and the Czech Republic. The talks are part of an agreement reached between Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel last December, which also includes a fresh environmental impact study on Temelin.

And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast.

Saturday should bring cloudy to overcast skies, with isolated snow showers in places. Daytime high temperatures should reach minus one degrees Celsius. Night-time lows are expected to drop to minus ten degrees Celsius.