Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

01-07-2003

Czech Republic to help seek peaceful solution on Korean Peninsula

Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has met with his South Korean counterpart Goh Kun in Prague. Prime Minister Goh stated on Tuesday that he had asked Prague to play an active diplomatic role in the future in helping to find a peaceful solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, while Mr Spidla said that the Czech Republic intended to renew contacts with North Korea, adding that there was a real threat of the use of nuclear weapons in that part of the world. North Korea has refused to give up the development of nuclear weapons; at the same that country has been suffering a difficult humanitarian crisis.

The South Korean prime minister is in Prague not only to discuss international relations, but to take part at the meeting of the International Olympic Committee, to try and lobby support for South Korea's bid to host the 2010 Winter Games.

SARS registration cards no longer required by Czech airports

As of Tuesday, tourists flying to the Czech Republic are no longer required to fill out registration forms which were introduced at Czech international airports in May as a preventative measure against the respiratory disease SARS. Had the virus had been confirmed in a patient, the cards were meant to provide a record of passengers who had arrived at the same time as the patient, in order to help prevent the spread of the disease. The Health Ministry decided to abolish the registration cards after the World Health Organisation ruled that SARS no longer presented a global threat. Altogether thirty people in the Czech Republic were suspected at one time of suffering from SARS, however, none of the cases proved positive.

Moody's: planned public finance reform could be more aggressive

The international rating agency Moody's has indicated that the Czech government's planned finance reforms could be more aggressive. The agency, which has long criticised the Czech Republic for not taking necessary steps in the social and public finance spheres raised the Czech Republic's rating three notches last autumn, because of the Czech Republic's move towards the European Union. The rating currently stands at A1. The director of the CRA rating agency, which is a member of Moody's, Petr Vins said on Tuesday that Moody's 'welcomed' the current reforms although with some reservations. Mr Vins said more aggressive reforms, such as those set for Slovakia, would benefit the Czech Republic more.

Debate over fighter jets to resume shortly

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry has revealed that the Czech Republic will soon reopen a debate on how to guard its airspace after it scrapped a 1.7 billion dollar purchase of fighter planes last year. The Czech Republic, a member of NATO, abandoned an earlier agreement to buy 24 Gripen fighters from the Anglo-Swedish group BAE Systems/ Saab, after the country was hit by massive floods in August. Funds were needed to help repair more than 2 billion dollars in damages. However, the country still needs to replace its fleet of Soviet-made MiG 21s, expected to last only till 2005. The defence ministry will now propose borrowing 14 used supersonic fighter planes for five or 10 years and then push to hold a tender later for 24 new fighters, said spokesman Ladislav Sticha on Tuesday.

Police release suspects charged with racially-motivated attack on Roma couple

Police have released two out of three suspects charged with a racially-motivated attack against a Roma couple last Saturday. The attack on the married couple took place at their own home, after they opened the door to the youths, believed to have been under the influence of alcohol. The suspects are in their late teens and early twenties. It has not yet been decided whether the third will be released from custody as he awaits trial.

Weather

Wednesday is expected to see showers with daytime temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius.

01-07-2003