News Monday, SEPTEMBER 11th, 2000

From Monday September 18th Radio Prague's broadcasts in English on the f101.1 FM frequency in Prague will change. Instead of our current times of 7.15am, 1.15pm and 5.30pm, we will broadcast a fifteen-minute programme at 9.45am, and our half-hour programme will move to the later time of 9.30 in the evening. You will also be able to hear our broadcasts not only in Prague but also on the BBC's FM frequencies in other Czech towns and cities.

President Havel ends US visit

At the close of his week-long working visit to the United States, President Havel met with members of the Czech community in New York and unveiled an exhibition entitled " Czech expats in the United States" on Ellis Island. The main aim of the President's visit was participation in the UN Millenium Summit, where he unveiled his vision of a future United Nations. The president described an organization which would create and guarantee "world legislature", based on a set of widely accepted ethical values ; an organization which would have a permanent military and police force at its disposal and the necessary mandate to intervene in local conflicts. The most important task we face in the globalization era is to accept global responsibility for the future – for the future of Mankind and the future of Planet Earth, the Czech President said.

Civic Democrats want consultations over next year's state budget

The Civic Democratic Party, whose continued support is vital for the governing Social Democrats, has demanded consultations over next year's state budget. The demand is not one which the governing Social Democrats can afford to ignore since they have a "tolerance pact" with the opposition Civic Democrats under the terms of which the deficit of next year's state budget must not exceed 20 billion crowns. The draft now being finalized is allegedly 3 billion crowns over that limit. The Social Democrats are hoping that the economic results for the second quarter of this year will show a higher than estimated GDP growth. This would raise GDP estimates for next year and would, as additional budgetary income, cover the extra 3 billion crowns.

Temelin controversy continues

There is continued controversy over the planned launch of the Temelin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia. Over the last 48 hours, neighbouring Austria and Germany have increased pressure on the Czech government to bring the plant in line with international nuclear safety norms and allow an international team of experts to assess its impact on the environment. The German environment minister has said that in its present state the plant would not be allowed to operate in Germany and anti-nuclear protesters in Upper Austria have warned Prague that, unless the Czech government reconsiders, blockades of border check-points would continue. The next protest actions have been scheduled for Friday, September 15th.

Prime Minister on Temelin

Meanwhile, speaking on a televised debate on Sunday, Prime Minister Zeman said that the European Parliament and the Czech Republic's neighbours were asking it to do something that was already in progress. He stressed that Temelin had been constructed so as to meet strict international nuclear safety norms and that it was in the Czech Republic's own best interests to guarantee this. The Czech Prime Minister suggested that some of the protests were linked to the ongoing re-distribution of profit from power-production on the European market.

Zeman-Austria sanctions

The Czech Prime Minister has refused to link the controversy over Temelin to the question of lifting sanctions against the Austrian government . After several Czech politicians publicly welcomed the recommendation of the "three wise men" for the sanctions against Austria to be lifted , Prime Minister Zeman told newsmen that the Czech government would follow the EU's lead on this and renew diplomatic relations with Austria as soon as the EU had done so.

Dumpling-eating competition

The winner of this years' dumpling-eating competition in Cerveny Hradek set a new Czech record. Jan Zila from Chomutov ate 57 dumplings with cream sauce in the space of an hour, adding 5 dumplings to the old record. In addition to the free lunch he was awarded 1,500 Czech crowns. The regular portion of dumplings one will get -as a side dish- is 4.

Finally, a look at the weather:

the unseasonably warm spell we've been enjoying is to last for another two or three days. Monday should be another warm and pleasant day, with day temps between 21 and 25 degs C.