News Monday, JUNE 14th, 1999
Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first a look at the news headlines.
Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.
Politicians argue over Czech contribution to NATO as troops roll in
As NATO troops pushed further into the Serbian province of Kosovo, the Czech government has come under renewed criticism from the opposition over Prague´s role in the Balkan crisis. Vladimir Mlynar, a member of the right wing opposition Freedom Union, said the Czech Republic had not shown sufficient loyalty to NATO during the conflict. Speaking on a televised discussion programme, Mlynar attacked what he termed the inconsistency of the Social Democrat government over the last three months. He also criticised Czech plans to send 120 soldiers as part of the KFOR peacekeeping force, saying that the government should agree with opposition parties on ways to finance a much larger contingent.
Basta admits existence of rival factions in BIS
The minister responsible for the intelligence services, Jaroslav Basta, has admitted the existence of rival factions in the Czech counter-intelligence service, the BIS. Basta said the forthcoming appointment of a new director would help reconcile divisions in the service. A BIS spokesman has denied the claims. There have been a number of embarrassing security leaks at the service, mostly notably at the beginning of this year, when a disgruntled BIS agent released the identity of a British MI6 agent stationed in Prague. The agent had criticised the BIS over its handling of the defection of a member of the Iraqi secret services.
European Commission denies Czechs about to be demoted from first EU group
The head of the European Commission delegation to the Czech Republic Ramiro Cibrian has dismissed claims that the country is on the verge of being dropped from the first group of candidates for European Union membership. Cibrian said it was premature to say now if any countries would be dropped from the first group or not. The Czech Republic was placed in the group of six fast-track EU candidates alongside neighbours Hungary and Poland. However following months of persistent economic problems and a slowdown in harmonisation of Czech legislation with EU law, speculation has emerged that the Czech Republic might be demoted from the first group.
Austria warns Czechs on nuclear power
Meanwhile in neighbouring Austria, the Minister for Consumer Protection Barbara Prammer has condemned remarks by the Czech Trade and Industry Minister Miroslav Gregr concerning Prague´s nuclear policies. Prammer quoted Gregr as saying that the Czech Republic would need to consider building a new nuclear power station within twelve years. She said such comments threatened the country´s bid to join the EU. There is already heated debate between Prague and Vienna over the completion of the Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia. The Czech government agreed recently to go ahead with completion, causing deep dismay from the Austrian government, which opposes nuclear power.
Olomouc man breaks cheese record
A 49-year-old man from Olomouc in North Moravia has broken the world record for eating the city´s famous pungent cheeses. Josef Krajci ate 15 Olomouc cheeses, two slices of bread and drank half a litre of beer in less than two and a half minutes, setting a new world record.
And finally a look at Monday´s weather. It will be a mostly cloudy day, with the chance of rain and thunderstorms in places. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach a high of 22 degrees Celsius, falling to around 10 degrees at night.