News Monday, MAY 01th, 2000

Hello and a very warm welcome indeed from the sun-scorched Prague absolutely devoid of its residents this long weekend but positively teeming up with tourists. I’m Libor Kubik, and we start the programme with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:


A report on the internet has urged Czech drivers not to "fill'em up" on Sunday and boycott petrol stations throughout the day in protest against the continuing rise of the price of petrol and diesel fuel.

Czech Radio's Berlin correspondent said that the internet message had been sent from the neighbouring Germany where a similar protest was to have taken place on the same day. However, the correspondent said drivers in Germany had no knowledge about the boycott. She said petrol prices in Germany had gone down recently.


A summit meeting of presidents from the Central European countries has been held in Hungary at the weekend. The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, crowned the event by planting a tree in the ancient town of Veszprem on Lake Balaton.

The heads of Central European states had earlier met for talks in the town of Szekesfehervar, once the seat of Hungary's legendary King Stephen, to celebrate one thousand years of Hungarian statehood.


A street party under the keynote "Dancing in the Street" took place on Sunday in the West Bohemian city of Plzen.

Police were out in strength to prevent excesses by the partying crowd, who protested against economic globalisation.

Our regional correspondent says it may have been the dress rehearsal for the huge protests planned in Prague next autumn when the city becomes the venue of a joint session of the International Monetary fund the World Bank. At least 20,000 protesters from all over Europe are said to be making preparations to turn the Prague meeting into an inferno.


The continuing slump of the Czech national currency -- the crown -- against the U.S. dollar has had a negative impact on many Czech companies this past week, including Aero Vodochody, which builds advanced jet planes for the cash-strapped Czech Air Force.

As announced on Sunday, due to the weakened crown, the first five advanced Alca ground-support fighters will cost the Air Force almost half a billion crowns over the contract price.


Bible experts from around the Czech Republic will meet in the historical town of Kutna Hora on June 3 for the first of a series of national contests all over the world in preparation for the World Biblical Championships to be held in Jerusalem in December next year.

The national organising committee said on Sunday that Czech would be one of the 10 official languages of the Jerusalem competition in which four-member teams from various countries will try to prove their knowledge of the Holy Scriptures.


The Czech town of Terezin, which the Nazis transformed into a Jewish ghetto and concentration camps, on Saturday received a gift in the form of a on-million-dollar grand piano donated to the victims of Terezin by civic groups from Japan.

The funds for the purchase of the precious musical instrument were raised by the Japanese pianist Izumi Shimura.


Hundreds of witches and sorcerers from around the country have spent Sunday holding summits on hilltops and burning bonfires in celebration of Beltine -- the international festival of wichcraft.

April 30 is a traditional witches night in the Czech Lands, whose inhabitants proudly state they are the descendants of the old Celts. In truth, however, the Celts moved out from Central Europe long before Slavs arrived at these latitudes in the Sixth Century of the Christian era.


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

May Day will be fairly wet here in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius but only about 20 degrees in the south-western parts of the country. The temperatures in thew mountains at 1,000 metres above sea level will hover around 18 degrees during the day.