News 10:18, Wednesday, NOVEMBER 7th, 2001 

By Rob Cameron

*Police have searched the headquarters of the Czech Republic's largest commercial station, TV Nova, as part of the ongoing fraud investigation.
*The licence holder of the Czech Republic's newest commercial station has ordered the station to cease broadcasting immediately.
*The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has reiterated his country's support for the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.

Police search TV Nova headquarters as fraud probe deepens
Police have searched the headquarters of the Czech Republic's largest commercial station, TV Nova, as part of the ongoing fraud investigation. Police searched offices at TV Nova's Barrandov headquarters in Prague, and removed a number of documents for examination. The investigation surrounds claims that lawyer Ales Rozehnal, a close associate of TV Nova's General Director Vladimir Zelezny, altered documents to help Mr Zelezny cheat one of TV Nova's creditors, the American billionaire Ronald Lauder. Mr Rozehnal spent a second night in police custody on Tuesday, as investigators continue to make their case against him. Mr Zelezny has refused to abide by an international arbitrator's order to pay 27 million dollars in compensation to Mr Lauder, who helped Mr Zelezny establish TV Nova in the early 1990s. Earlier this year Mr Lauder successfully sued the Czech Republic for failing to protect his investment in TV Nova.

Licence holder orders TV3 off the air
And most viewers of the Czech Republic's newest commercial station, TV3, were left with a blank screen on Wednesday morning, after TV3's licence holder ordered the station off the air for one month. TV3 continues to broadcast by cable and satellite, in defiance of an order from licence holder Martin Kindernay to cease all broadcasting immediately. The production company which makes TV3's programmes says it has the right to broadcast on cable and satellite, and on Tuesday moved technical equipment from the station's Hradec Kralove studios to TV3's Prague headquarters. Observers say the moves are part of an ongoing struggle for control of the station.

Zeman reiterates Czech support for U.S. anti-terror campaign
The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has reiterated his country's support for the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. Mr Zeman, speaking on an official visit to the United States, said negotiation with terrorists was impossible, and told reporters the Czech Republic had offered its best military units to the U.S. campaign. Earlier the U.S. President George Bush gave a video address to Central European leaders at a special security summit in Warsaw. Mr Bush told delegates that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network was trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and warned Central Europeans that their freedom was once again under threat.

Czech police deny missile launcher left near runway by accident
The head of the Czech police force has denied claims that the anti-tank missile launcher found near Prague's Ruzyne Airport could have been left there by accident by an elite police unit during a training exercise. Chief of Police Jiri Kolar said no such exercise was underway near the airport at the time. The claim, made by the chairman of the Senate's defence committee, Michael Zantovsky, has also been denied by the Interior Minister Stanislav Gross. The Czech-made missile launcher was discovered near the runway of Prague's Ruzyne Airport on October 18, and investigators are still trying to establish how it got there.

Klaus rejects Respekt plea for help against Zeman
The chairman of the lower house, Vaclav Klaus, has told the editor of the weekly newspaper Respekt that the government's threats of mass lawsuits against the paper do not constitute an attack on the freedom of speech. Speaking in a letter to Respekt editor-in-chief Petr Holub, Mr Klaus said it was not the job of parliament to intervene in a legal dispute between the government and the media. The Prime Minister Milos Zeman caused uproar recently when he threatened to put Respekt out of business with a barrage of lawsuits for slander. Mr Holub had appealed to the lower house to intervene to protect press freedom. Respekt, which is highly critical of Mr Zeman's Social Democrat government, angered the Prime Minister by describing the cabinet as corrupt.

Man sentenced to life in prison for murder
A court in the northern city of Usti nad Labem has sent a 36-year-old man to life in prison for the murder of a 20-year-old girl and the attempted murder of a 53-year-old woman. The man, Josef Schottehammel, was convicted of strangling the girl in the town of Teplice after escaping from psychiatric care. He has appealed against the verdict.

Bin Laden fan arrested in Brno
And police in the southern city of Brno have arrested a 20-year-old man for placing stickers on his window which read 'Death to America' and 'Long Live Bin Laden'. A spokesman said police had been tipped off by the man's neighbours. The spokesman refused to say what the man will be charged with.

And finally a look at the weather. Wednesday will be another mostly cloudy day with the chance of showers and rain throughout the country, and snow in mountain areas. Temperatures in the daytime will peak at 10 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of two degrees.

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