Daily news summary News Friday, APRIL 07th, 2000

07-04-2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik and here's the news.

CZECH-NUCLEAR-BOMB-HOAX

Twelve hundred employees of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Station near Brno were evacuated on Thursday after the plant received a phone call announcing a bomb had been planted in the compound.

The alert was over in three and a half hours but by then, the crisis management had alerted state authorities, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and their colleagues in the neighbouring countries.

CZECH-PM-AIDE

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman showed little remorse on Thursday over the revelation that one of his top aides apparently has not passed screening by the National Security Bureau, the body responsible for approving government official's access to classified information and other sensitive data.

The mass-circulation daily Mlada Fronta Dnes has reported that Mr. Zeman's secretary, former Communist Party official Karel Herman, has not passed through the bureau's security screen and is therefore unfit to work in the high-powered team of the Czech prime minister.

Mr. Zeman has dismissed these allegations saying he will not have any further comment until the screening process is complete. Mr. Herman says he has not received any outputs from the screening procedures.

CZECH-SENATE-TELECOM

The Senate has voted in favour of reducing the monopoly status of the Czech Telecom by six months, expiring at the end of next year.

The upper house of parliament has now sent back a government bill envisaging the lifting of price controls in telecommunications by July 2002.

CZECH-PARLIAMENT-VICECHAIRMAN

The lower house of the Czech Parliament has a new deputy speaker. He is Mr. Frantisek Brozik, a Social Democrat former head of the House Economic Committee.

Elected in the first round of a secret ballot on Thursday, Mr. Brozik succeeds in his post the Social Democrat vice chairman Stanislav Gross, who resigned on Tuesday after being appointed the country's new minister of the interior.

CZECH-VATICAN-TREATY

The Czech Republic and the Holy See have commenced negotiations concerning a future state treaty between both entities. Our correspondent says both sides are talking about a framework political document.

The Czech Republic is one of the last two central and east European countries which so far have not signed a state treaty with the Vatican. Our correspondent says the treaty, which will not have the form of a concordat, would codify relations between the state and the church and outline various spheres of cooperation, such as in education, culture, prison services and charity.

CZECH-ETHNIC-UN

United Nations' special envoy on racial discrimination says the Czech Republic is trying in earnest to introduce reforms beneficial to its Roma ethnic community which, if successful, could bring positive results in the shorter and long-term perspective.

The envoy, Mr. Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo, presented his report on Thursday to the UN Human Rights Commission, now meeting in Geneva.

Mr. Glele-Ahanhanzo was on a fact-finding mission last year to the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary to investigate reports that Roma people in the three countries are subjected to systematic discrimination and suffer violence at the hands of ultra-right groups and frequently also the police.

CZECH-YUGO-AIRLINE

The Yugoslav state airline JAT has resumed commercial flights between Belgrade and Prague. There will be two scheduled flight a week.

JAT suspended flights to Prague in the second half of March last year, a few days before NATO launched its air attacks on Yugoslavia.

Last February, the European Union suspended for six months its air embargo against Yugoslavia, citing requests from that country's democratic opposition.

Czech Airlines, which stopped flying to Belgrade last spring, plans to resume flights on April 11, with three flights a week.

CZECH-MINE-STRIKE

Fifty miners at the Kohinoor mineshaft in northern Bohemia remained underground as their occupation strike of this brown coal mine continued for the seventh day running on Thursday.

The miners who fear an imminent closure of their uneconomical shaft said they would hold on until a buyer for the mine is found. They also demand the resignation of the entire coal mine company management.

One of the prospective buyers of Kohinoor, the Geoindustria company, on Thursday suspended talks with the mine's owner, Mostecka Uhelna. That leaves only two other bidders in the game, one of whom is a private person.

CZECH-BRITAIN-HOWE

The Former British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe arrives in Prague on Monday, 15 years after a visit which marked a turning point in relations between his country and the former Czechoslovakia.

During his memorable visit in 1985, members of Mr. Howe's entourage had an unpublicized dinner with a group of Czech dissidents while he was officially dining with his Czechoslovak counterpart Bohuslav Chnoupek. The incident was a major embarrassment for the Communist authorities.

The late French President Francois Mitterrand emulated the British example three years later by inviting leading dissidents to a breakfast.

CZECH-SLOVAK-ASSETS

In a long-expected move on Thursday, the Czech House of Deputies passed the government draft of a treaty under which the Czechs and the Slovaks should complete the division of their formal federal assets.

The draft was signed by the prime ministers of both countries last November, after seven years of protracted negotiations. The Slovak parliament passed the bill in February.

CZECH-WEATHER

And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather.

Cold Arctic air will continue to pour into the Czech Republic on Friday, bringing along scattered snow showers at higher elevations and maximum daytime temperatures between seven and 11 degrees Celsius, dropping to around zero in the night.

The weekend will be also unseasonably cold, with nighttime lows falling to three degrees below freezing point, while daytime highs will be a chilly six to nine Celsius.

I am Libor Kubik and that’s the news.

07-04-2000