News Friday, APRIL 28th, 2000

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

No word yet on who will head the Intelligence Service

There is as yet no official decision on which Cabinet minister will oversee the work of the Czech Intelligence Service. Originally it was the Minister without Portfolio who was in charge, but in the course of the recent Cabinet reshuffle the Prime Minister decided to relegate that responsibility to a different Cabinet post. A foreign ministry spokesman has rejected the assumption that the responsibility would go to the Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan, saying that Kavan had only been assigned to oversee the planned merger of the two Intelligence Services.

Interior Ministry rejects allegations made by German ZDF TV

The Czech Interior Ministry says it has found no evidence to support the claim that German neo-Nazi groups are getting professional para-military training at a former army base north of Prague. The allegation was made in a programme broadcast by the German public service ZDF television, which claimed there was close cooperation between German neo-Nazis and Czech right-wing extremists. It also alleged that the training at the former army base was being conducted by local police officers. The police chief of the North Bohemia district has sharply rejected those claims as well as the allegation that his men had turned a blind eye on the sale of Neo-Nazi CDs and publications.

EU official advises Czechs on gaining EU entry

Visiting deputy-chairman of the European Parliament Alejo-Vidal Quadras Roca has advised the Czech Republic to court the favour of EU member states who are now the prime beneficiaries of EU financial aid projects. It is understood that after the first wave of expansion countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland stand to loose a substantial part of the financial aid they are now receiving and their vote will therefore be crucial, Mr. Roca told members of the Senate. The EU official likewise met with members of the Lower House, chaired by Civic Democratic Party leader Vaclav Klaus.

British official visits Prague

The British Lord Chancellor Irvin of Lairg is on a four day visit to the Czech Republic. The Lord Chancellor is in charge of the British legal system and he is due to meet with justice minister Otakar Motejl to discuss the workings of the justice system in the Czech Republic.

Personnel changes at the Nova Hut steelworks

In the wake of a warning hour-long strike at the ailing Nova Hut steelworks, the supervisory board on Thursday made significant personnel changes on the firm's board of directors. Jaroslav Petros has been replaced by Svatopluk Velkoborsky as General Director, Oldrich Struminsky is the new Director of Finances and Jan Palicka has been appointed Personnel Director. The supervisory board has likewise recalled the firm's marketing director, but does not as yet have a replacement. The Nova Hut Steelworks – the largest steel producer in the country- has run into financial straits and its employees are pressing for government assistance to help get the plant in shape for privatization.

Prague City Hall wants to curb begging in the city centre

The Prague City Hall has approved a regulation to curb begging in the streets of the Czech capital. The regulation, which is to go in force as of mid-May, will ban begging in 34 streets in the city centre, in the metro, on trams, in the vicinity of schools and Ruzyne Airport. Violations are punishable by a fine – but the City Hall authorities say the desired effect should be achieved by the police who will consistently clear the off-limits zones.

The majority of Czechs support Temelin

If a national referendum were held on the fate of the Temelin nuclear power plant in Southern Bohemia, close to 75% of Czechs would vote for it to be put into operation. That is the outcome of an opinion survey conducted in response to growing demands on the part of environment groups for a referendum to take place. The plant is to be activated in three months time and its opponents in this country and neighbouring Austria are planning a last-ditch campaign to try and prevent that coming about.

And finally a quick look at the weather:

Friday should be a bright and clear day with sunshine and temperatures between 22 and 26 degs C . The weekend should bring some clouds and possibly afternoon thunderstorms but day temperatures are expected to remain the same.