News Friday, OCTOBER 13th, 2000

By Rob Cameron

Prague to seek EU help in resolving Temelin border dispute

The Czech Foreign Ministry has said it will officially ask the European Commission to intervene to help in a row over anti-nuclear border blockades on the Austrian border. Austrian anti-nuclear protesters have been blockading the Czech-Austrian border for several days, in protest at Monday's launch of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. The two countries' Interior Ministers met for talks on Thursday, but failed to reach agreement on lifting the blockade. Several thousand Austrian protestors, including many children who have been allowed off school, were due to hold the biggest demonstrations yet on Friday. The Czech government has ignored protests over Temelin from Vienna, which wanted new safety checks before the plant went into operation. Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has said he will raise the issue of Temelin at the EU summit in Biarritz this weekend. There are reports that Mr Schuessel himself is to take part in Friday's demonstration.

Czech police detain leading people-trafficker

Czech police say they have arrested an internationally-wanted trafficker in illegal immigrants. A spokesman said Interpol had been searching for the 33-year-old man, who is a foreign citizen, for the last two years. He is wanted by German police for smuggling dozens of illegal immigrants from the Czech Republic into Germany.

Havel meets Kurdish leaders for lunch in Istanbul.

The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has held talks with Kurdish leaders in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Mr Havel, currently on a state visit to Turkey, met 13 Kurdish leaders for lunch. The Czech President said Turkey's Kurdish minority deserved greater civil rights, in particular the right to use the Kurdish language in public. One of the Kurdish leaders told reporters after the meeting that President Havel has sent a clear message to the Turkish authorities. Mr Havel himself said he had noticed greater openness among Turkish politicians towards the Kurdish minority.

Czechs back setting up EU-sponsored Euro rapid deployment force

The Czech Defence Ministry says it supports the setting up of a European rapid deployment force under the command of the European Union. However, in its statement at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Birmingham, the Czech delegation said three principles should be observed. EU candidate countries which are members of the alliance should have a say on all European security problems, NATO's and the EU's activities shouldn't overlap, and the force should have a transatlantic dimension. The planned rapid deployment force, designed to carry out humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, will consist of between 60,000 and 80,000 thousand troops.

Internet experts mull future at Prague conference

An estimated 800 chief executive officers from the world's top Internet and telecommunications companies have gathered for the 11th annual European Technology Roundtable Exhibition. The growth of electronic commerce and the collapse of so-called stocks are among the topics on the agenda.


Friday will be a rather cloudy day, with rain in western parts of the country. Daytime temperatures will reach 22 degrees Celsius.