News Monday, NOVEMBER 06th, 2000

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By Vladimir Tax

Kajinek still on the run, head of prison removed

The minister of Justice Pavel Rychetsky, said that the director of Mirov prison has been removed from his post because of the escape of murderer Jiri Kajinek from the facility a week ago. Rychetsky added that he will decide whether to remove the head of the prison service, Kamila Meclova, by Tuesday. Meanwhile, dozens of police have been intensively searching the area around the prison because, it is believed Kajinek may not have gone very far. The police also said that they have certain indications that might help them get Kajinek back behind the bars. Kajinek was sentenced to life in prison in 1999 for two murders and one attempted murder.

Czech-Austrian border still blocked

Austrian anti-nuclear activists continue to block Czech-Austrian border crossings in protest against the Temelin nuclear power station in Southern Bohemia. The blockades continue despite a meeting between Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman earlier this week, when the two official agreed to set up a telephone hot line between Prague and Vienna and to hold further talks. The activists consider the outcome of the meeting to be insufficient and demand that nuclear fission in Temelin be stopped for half a year, to enable a thorough, independent nuclear safety check. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman said that continuing blockades could seriously threaten talks planned for the end of November. A spokesman for the Austrian-Czech Anti-Nuclear Committee said the blockades could continue until Thursday.

Yugoslavia appreciates Czech humanitarian help

According to Yugoslav presidential advisor Dragana Džurièová, Yugoslavia appreciates Czech aid. Mrs. Dzuricova said that Czech aid has been extremely generous. Czech donations include, for example, ten buses for Belgrade metropolitan transport and restoration of a hospital, three bridges and a power station that were destroyed in NATO air strikes during the Kosovo conflict. After mentioning the traditionally good economic and political relations between the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia, Džurièová said there was now room to broaden business ties and to return to the level of mutual trade common in the 1980's, when trade amounted to 800 million USD annually. In recent years, trade has stood at around 100 million dollars.

Croat minister arrives in Prague to discuss defence issues

The Croatian Minister of Defence, Jozo Rados, arrives in Prague today for an official visit. He is to discuss the current situation in the Balkans, Czech experiences with NATO membership and participation in the Partnership for Peace programme. Croatia was isolated for almost a decade due to the nationalist policies of the late president Franjo Tudjman, but after elections earlier this year, Croatia has been striving to normalise its relation with the West.

Czech Republic to hold the first ever regional elections

For the first time ever, Czechs will elect new regional parliaments next Sunday. The elections are part of local government reforms that will introduce a third level of government between villages and municipalities and the government in Prague. Although the three-tier government structure is stipulated by the Czech constitution, which came into effect in 1992, it took five years for Parliament to approve the reforms. Local government reform is required by the "acquis communautaire" of the European Union.

Bishops urge believers to go to polls

Amidst an ongoing pre-election campaign, Czech and Moravian bishops have urged Czech Catholics to go to the polls. The bishops consider the creation of regional parliaments as an important step on the Czech Republic's way to democracy. In a pastoral letter that was read in Churches all over the country on Sunday, they claim that absence from the polls - either as a sign of resignation or indecisiveness - would only serve those who wish to return the country to the totalitarian era, and would be in contradiction with Christian, shared responsibility for the world.

Weather forecast

We are expecting a partially cloudy day, the highest daytime temperatures should range from 7 to 11 degrees Celsius.