News Monday, DECEMBER 04th, 2000

By: Libor Kubik

C-bank's new governor says policy unchanged, won't step down

The Czech National Bank's new Governor Zdenek Tuma has said that he cannot see any reason for a change in the central bank's monetary policies and ruled out his resignation. Mr Tuma, who assumed his duties on Friday, said in a late-night talk show on Czech Television that the Czech central bank was as transparent and efficient as comparable western institutions.

Havel not to ask constitutional court to rule on c-bank chief appointment

As his rift with the Czech government continues, President Vaclav Havel is adamant he will not ask the constitutional court to clarify the rules of appointing central bank governors. Havel's spokesman has denied earlier reports about the president's preparedness to reach a compromise with the government, which is opposed to the presidential nominee Zdenek Tuma for the post. Mr Havel's lawyers insist that the nomination of a central bank chief by the president doesn't require the prime minister's countersignature. The reports also said that in Havel's view, the government should first recognise the legitimacy of all the earlier governor appointments including Mr Tuma's, and only then would either he or the government raise the issue with the constitutional court. According to Prime Minister Milos Zeman, his cabinet will decide on Monday whether to bring the case to court or not.

NATO praises Czechs, Poles for speedy integration

A senior NATO official has praised Czechs and Poles for the speed with which they continue to integrate with the military structures of the alliance. General Klaus Reinhardt, commander of NATO's Central European forces, has told the German news agency DPA that the process was smoother than expected, although it was far from over. He said the issue now was to standardise armaments and improve officers' command of English, the language of communication within the Atlantic alliance.

Russia's new ambassador assumes duties in Prague

Russia's new ambassador to the Czech Republic, Igor Savolsky, assumes his duties at his Prague post today. Mr Savolsky said on his departure from Moscow that his main goal would be fostering economic relations between both countries. The Russian career diplomat said he would also strive to revive political dialogue between Moscow and Prague, which he said had been stalling.

Czechs with cocaine haul intercepted in Hungary

Hungarian customs authorities have announced they have found 27 kilos of cocaine in a Czech car crossing into the country from Hungary. The incident occurred on Saturday. Two Czechs travelling in an Opel Vectra said they had nothing to declare but officers then discovered 55 sacks of heroine whose street value would be well over two million dollars. The Czechs, whose names were withheld, were handed over to the Hungarian police.

Czech ski jumping event called off

Sport -- and lack of snow and warm weather have forced the International Ski Federation to call off next weekend's World Cup ski jumping event in the North Bohemian town of Liberec. The Czech news agency quoted local organisers as saying that poor weather forecast had dashed chances that the event could take place on artificial snow.

Runaway ostrich causes road havoc, is shot

And finally, who's going to bury his head in the sand for this? A runaway ostrich from a farm near Kladno west of Prague paid dearly for his jailbreak on Sunday. The feathery fugitive was causing so much havoc on a busy motorway and was so adamant he would not be caught alive that he had to dispatched off with two bullets from a police pistol. Police said after the incident that the bird had been so confused it had become dangerous to the traffic.

Czech weather report

A look at the weather.

Today's highs will be between three and seven Celsius and the skies should start clearing up in the afternoon hours. On Tuesday, we expect early morning lows between minus one and plus three degrees, and daytime highs between four and eight degrees Celsius. We also expect rain showers.