News Monday, AUGUST 14th, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik, and we start the program with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

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


Austria's right-wing extremist Joerg Haider said on Sunday his country was not going to back the Czech Republic's bid to enter the EU unless Prague lifts the notorious Benes Decrees by this coming autumn.

The outspoken provincial governor of Carinthia predicted that the EU's summit in the French city of Nice, scheduled to take place in December, will be a flop unless the international sanctions against Austria are lifted. Mr. Haider, a populist, was reacting to the outcomes of the "three wise men's" mission to investigate the situation in Austria, where his ultra-right party joined the government following elections earlier this year.

Under the decrees issued after World War II by Czechoslovakia's President Edvard Benes, more than two million ethnic Germans were expelled from this country in a move which was later confirmed by the Potsdam Conference.

The Austrian news agency APA reported at the start of the weekend that Austria's governing People's Party of Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel was against linking the debate over the Benes Decrees with Czech EU entry.

The post-communist Czech governments have refused to abolish the Benes Decrees, saying they are an integral part of the Czech legal system, although they are obsolete.


The Czech President Vaclav Havel will go on a week-long working visit to the United States early next month. The chief mission of his tour is to attend the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York, scheduled to start on September 6.

Mr. Havel's spokesman said at the weekend that the Czech President was also going to visit Detroit's Michigan University to receive an honorary doctorate of law and to attend a panel discussion under the keynote "The Intellectual Challenges of Globalisation".

The New York summit conference of world leaders will focus on the United Nations' role in the Third Millennium. It is expected that over 100 heads of state from around the world will take floor in the debate, turning the meeting into the largest gathering of statesmen and women in human history.


Fire brigades and firefighter pilots in Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic, have begun a series of protests against the Agriculture Ministry decision to curb monitoring flights over the forests in an attempt to save up to five million crowns a year.

The firefighters argue that ultimately, these austerity measures could be very costly. They said at the weekend that fire-prevention flights were extremely efficient in this year's dry weather.

The Ministry of Agriculture has ordered the firefighter pilots to reduce their flight hours, saying they are too expensive.


More than 5,000 pilgrims attended Sunday's Marian Fair at Svaty Hostyn near the Moravian town of Kromeriz. The mass at the local Assumption Basilica was served by the Archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner.

The Svaty Hostyn basilica has a capacity for 6,000 worshippers and is one of the most frequently visited pilgrim shrines in the Czech Repubvlic.

Father Graubner has been under media fire because of his attempts to hush a scandal involving a parish priest accused of pedophile practices with underage altar boys.


The ultra-right Czech movement, the Patriotic Front, is planning to stage a rally next Saturday to press for weeding out communists from the Czech society. Their leader Jan Skacel said at the weekend that the protest would start in the town of Kladno a few kilometres west of Prague.

The self-styled Patriotic Front recently vowed to build a Party of National Unification, modelled on the party of the same name, founded way back in 1934 by the then Czechoslovak Prime Minister Karel Kramar under the slogan "Nothing But the Nation".

Our correspondent says the Patriotic Front is plagued by internal strife, with part of its membership base clearly devoted to extremist ideologies while other members prefer to avoid conflicts with the establishment. Mr. Skacel likes to define himself as an extremist.


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

Monday will be a very hot day here in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs between 27 and 31 degrees Celsius but also with scattered thunderstorms, mainly in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be very hot, with the early morning lows up to 16 degrees and the afternoon highs around 30 Celsius and more.

This in anticipation of a cold front advancing eastward across the Continent. Its arrival should bring us some relief from the unseasonably hot and dry weather.

I'm Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.