News Monday, APRIL 03th, 2000

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Rob Cameron, and we start the programme with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.

CIA: Czech Republic among primary sources of 'white slave trade'

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says the Czech Republic is one of the primary sources of the trade in women who are held as slaves and forced to work as prostitutes. According to the CIA report, quoted by the New York Times on Sunday, most of the 50,000 women and children tricked into coming to the United States came from the Czech Republic, Russia, Mexico, Thailand, China and Vietnam. The CIA says women from eastern Europe and Asia are lured by adverts offering work as waitresses or au pairs and then forced into prostitution.

Far-right group rejects ban as illegal

Members of the far-right National Alliance have said Friday's decision to ban the association is illegal, and goes against patriotic values. The National Alliance, a far-right skinhead group registered with the Interior Ministry as a civic association, was banned by the outgoing Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich on Friday, after repeatedly breaking the law on racial hatred. Members of the National Alliance say they and members of another far-right group, the Patriotic Republican Party, will continue in their efforts to unite in the form of a political party, to be called the National Socialist Alliance.

Telicka: EU expansion approaching dangerous slowdown

The Czech deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Telicka has warned of a slowdown in the process of EU expansion, saying that negotiations between the European Union and the main candidates for membership must be intensified over the next three months. Speaking at a conference in London, Mr Telicka said a slowdown in the expansion process would also to lead to a loss of confidence in EU enlargement, and possibly in the EU in general. Mr Telicka called for the opening of discussion on all areas of EU legislation.

STEM: 70 percent of Czechs believe mafia have links with top politicians

A new opinion poll has claimed that seventy percent of people in the Czech Republic believe organised crime has infiltrated political life at the highest levels. The poll, carried out by the STEM agency, comes after President Vaclav Havel claimed the Czech Republic was riddled with what he called mafia capitalism, which he said was a result of shady privatisation deals in the early 1990s and low moral and political culture. President Havel said he himself was partly responsible for the current situation, for failing to appreciate the gravity of the problem earlier.

Kosovo commander criticises Dienstbier KLA remarks

The commander of international forces in Kosovo, General Klaus Reinhart, has criticised remarks by the United Nations' Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia, Jiri Dienstbier. Mr Dienstbier, a former Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, has dismissed as nonsense NATO claims that the Kosovo Liberation Army no longer exists. Mr Dienstbier said the KLA was still active and controlled many villages in Kosovo. General Reinhart said Mr Dienstbier's claims were inaccurate, and pointed out that the situation in Kosovo was now relatively calm.

Miners continue protest

Some forty miners are continuing to occupy a mineshaft at the Kohinoor coal mine in Northern Bohemia, in protest at possible closure. The miners are demanding an agreement guaranteeing the future of the mine, and the resignation of the current board of directors.

Flood threat receding as river levels fall

River levels are falling, and meteorologists say the risk of severe flooding has now receded. Rivers in northern and eastern parts of the country had reached dangerous levels after several days of rain, and roads were closed in the city of Usti nad Labem after the River Elbe flooded. The country has seen sporadic flooding over the past two years, although not on the scale of the disastrous floods of 1997, in which dozens died and thousands lost their homes.


And I´ll end as usual with a quick look at Tuesday's weather forecast. And it will be a warm, clear day with temperatures reaching eighteen degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to zero degrees at night.

I'm Rob Cameron, and that's the end of the news.