News Monday, SEPTEMBER 25th, 2000

By Vladimir Tax

Italian activists cause problems

A group of some 500 mostly Italian anti-globalisation activists heading for the anti-IMF/WB demonstrations meeting in Prague, have been causing problems. The Czech police halted their special train at the country's southern border on Sunday and refused to let it pass until four black-listed activists got off. It required more than 12 hours of negotiating and an intervention from the Italian deputy ambassador to the Czech Republic to convince them to return to Austria. Late at night the activists arrived in Prague and sought accommodation at the Strahov Stadium. Some refused to pay immediately and whilst others broke into the complex.

Forum "Different message" opens in Prague

A discussion forum called "A Different Message" opened in Prague on Sunday. It is being organised by the less radical non-governmental organisation, CEE Bankwatch Network, the Friends of the Earth, and Jubilee 2000. It includes seminars and workshops from representatives of non-governmental organizations from more than 30 countries as well as discussions with representatives of the IMF and World Bank. It was preceded on Saturday by a panel discussion between opponents of the IMF and world financiers, organized by Czech President Vaclav Havel at Prague Castle.

Road blockade at Czech - Polish border crossing

Heavy trucks have been blockading the Czech-Polish border crossing in Chotebuz since Sunday. Truck drivers are protesting against lengthy customs procedures and deplorable conditions they have to wait in. They claim that they often have to wait more than two days for a check-in, and the truck drivers demand that another crossing is built nearby. This is the latest of a series of protest blockades at this border crossing which suffers from insufficient capacity.

Czech foreign minister calls for lower oil prices

Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan spoke against tax cuts as a way to lower fuel prices and suggested that the international community exert pressure on OPEC countries to decrease oil prices. Kavan argued that the Czech Republic cannot cut the consumer tax and VAT because it will have to bring them up to European level once it joins the EU. However, deputy leader of the Civic Democratic Party, Petr Necas, claims that the consumer tax on standard lead-free petrol is already higher in the Czech Republic than in the European Union.

"Iron man" gets another gold

Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny won his third successive Olympic gold at the weekend. Zelezny overcame back and elbow pains and to blast out a throw of 90.17 metres on the third of his six throws to secure the title. The 34-year-old Zelezny, world champion in 1993 and 1995 and the current world record holder, is the first competitor ever to win three Olympic javelin golds. Britain's Steve Backley took the silver and Sergey Makarov of Russia took the bronze.

Czech weather forecast

And finally, the weather forecast. It should be mostly clear, with more clouds later in the day. The highest daytime temperatures should reach from 15 to 19 degrees Celsius. The next two days are expected to be rather cloudy with occasional showers, with afternoon highs between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.