News Monday, OCTOBER 30th, 2000

By Libor Kubik

Ruthless killer at large

Police have mounted a nationwide hunt for a dangerous killer who escaped from a maximum security prison near Sumperk on Sunday.

Jiri Kajinek was serving a life sentence in Mirov Prison for two contract killings of businessman and an attempted third murder.

Police have warned that the runaway criminal will want to get hold of a weapon, car and money. They said he was wearing a prison uniform and a short haircut. Police have cautioned drivers not to take hitchhikers.

Opposition senator slams Havel over speech

A leading opposition senator has charged that President Vaclav Havel misused his Independence Day speech for electioneering.

Mr Mirek Topolanek from the main opposition Civic Democratic Party described Havel's speech before recipients of high state awards on Saturday night as lacking dignity.

Mr Havel, speaking on the 82nd anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia, said that his nation's identity was not being threatened by international organisations and multinationals but by Czechs themselves. He appealed to citizens to act resolutely against irresponsible and arrogant political leaders.

Prince Charles arrives in Prague

Britain's Prince Charles arrives in Prague today at the start of a three-day visit at the invitation of President Vaclav Havel.

The Prince, who is a keen connoisseur of historical architecture and its preservation, will visit unique gardens surrounding the Prague Castle, beautifully renovated with the help of the Prague Heritage Fund the two men have set up.

Prodi sees six countries ready to join EU

The European Commission's President Romano Prodi has said he expects six countries to be ready to join the European Union in 2003.

Speaking at a conference on eastern Europe in Bologna, Italy, Mr Prodi said the EU should push ahead with lagging internal reforms to allow for enlargement.

He did not say which countries he had in mind but said each applicant country would be judged on its merits.

Front-running candidates are the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia and Cyprus, which started membership negotiations two years ago. Six more countries started this year.

Austrians stage more protests over Czech nuclear plant

Austrian anti-nuclear activists have renewed their protests against the launch earlier this month of the controversial Czech nuclear power station at Temelin near the Austrian border.

A protest rally was staged at the Wullowitz-Horni Dvoriste border crossing. However, the Austrian activists stopped short of blocking the checkpoint, thus paving the way for Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's and Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman's planned meeting on Tuesday.

The Czech premier has said the meeting would be called off if there were any further blockades.

Tennis: Czech teen beats Oremans in Bratislava

Tennis -- and Czech teenager Daniela Bedanova claimed her first WTA title when she beat Miriam Oremans of the Netherlands 6-1 5-7 6-3 on Sunday in the final of the 110,000-dollar Slovak indoor championship.

Czech weather report

Today's afternoon highs will be between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius here in the Czech Republic.

On Tuesday, we expect scattered showers, early morning lows between six and ten Celsius, afternoon highs between 13 and 17 degrees.

And on Wednesday, the skies will be mostly cloudy and it's going to be a very wet day. Nighttime lows between six and ten degrees Celsius and down to four degrees in the western parts of the country. Afternoon highs in Bohemia between eight and 12 degrees and in Moravia and Silesia up to 15 degrees Celsius.