Daily news summary News Tuesday, MARCH 07th, 2000

07-03-2000

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

CZECH-TGM-HAVEL-ALBRIGHT

The American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet top Czech officials on Tuesday over the problem of a contract under which a Czech engineering firm was to supply air-conditioning equipment to a controversial Iranian nuclear power plant. The United States believes the power station in Bushehr could be part of an Iranian nuclear weapons development programme.

The Lower House of the Czech parliament meets later in the day to debate legislation which would prevent sales of sensitive equipment to risk countries.

Secretary Albright laid a wreath at a statue to the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. She said she was commemorating Tuesday's 150th anniversary of Masaryk's birth as a representative of the United States.

President Havel described Ms. Albright as a woman who, like Masaryk, is very much concerned about the fate of the world.

The president, members of the government and members of the Prague diplomatic community have been meeting at Masaryk's grave at Lany Castle outside Prague. The presidential retreat at Lany is open to the public on Tuesday.

Prague unveils a statue of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk on Hradcany Square and a formal evening at Prague Castle this evening will round off the day's festivities.

CZECH-GOVT-RESHUFFLE

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has embarked on the lengthy process of reshuffling his all- Social Democrat cabinet. He has met with three members of his cabinet who are likely to be replaced.

The Interior Minister, Vaclav Grulich, who is said to be slated for dismissal as part of a planned major reshuffle, says he has asked for two weeks to consider his future.

Mr. Grulich has recently threatened to resign in protest against Prime Minister Zeman's secretive approach to the reshuffle on which the opposition Civic Democrats have made conditional their support of the government budget, which was finally endorsed by parliament on Friday.

But Mr. Grulich, one of up to five ministers who are likely to lose their cabinet posts in the near future, has also said he would rather have himself demoted by the prime minister and then seek an explanation.

CZECH-BRITAIN-INVESTMENT

The British government has selected the Czech Republic as one of only 12 countries throughout the world to be given the designation "a market for special promotion".

A 12-month campaign called "Opportunity for the Czech Republic" will be launched in Prague next week.

British officials have said they believe there are untapped opportunities for British companies to increase trade with and investments in the Czech Republic.

CZECH-US-YUGO-POLICE

Fourteen Czech police officers will be dispatched to Kosovo in the autumn to enhance the international police corps serving in the troubled Yugoslav province.

Czech government officials said on Monday the reinforcements would be added to six Czechs already serving in the corps.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Sunday asked President Havel to send more police officers to Kosovo. The issue was raised also last week during Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan's trip to London for talks with the British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

CZECH-AUSTRIA-BORDER

Austria's far-right Freedom Party has asked the new federal government in Vienna to deploy troops to protect Austria's border with the Czech Republic.

Franz Marchat, a member of parliament for the Freedom Party, said on Monday that the border should be protected by up to 2,000 troops in order to stem the flow of illegal migrants.

CZECH-WEATHER

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

On Tuesday, warmer air will start pouring into the Czech Republic from the west. We are expecting a clear day with scattered showers in the northern parts of the country. Daytime highs between seven and 11 degrees Celsius dropping to around zero in the night.

On Wednesday and Thursday, we should brace ourselves for a rather wet weather with nighttime lows between zero and four Centigrade and maximum daytime temperatures between seven and 11 degrees.

I am Libor Kubik and that’s the news.

07-03-2000