News of Radio Prague

PM says new fighter jets might become a necessity

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has said that the terrorist attacks against the United States are a strong argument in favour of the Czech Republic's acquiring a fleet of modern fighter jets. Fighter jets are important in combating international terrorism and this has emerged as a new priority, the Czech Prime Minister said. He suggested that all Parliamentary parties should be involved in a debate on the matter. The question whether or not to replace the Czech Armed Forces' fleet of outdated fighter jets with modern planes has been a matter of controversy mainly due to the financial burden that such a purchase would impose. In the past NATO officials have warned the Czech government against incurring an expense which could prevent the Czech Republic from meeting its other obligations as a NATO member state.

The circumstances have now changed, the Czech Prime Minister said in an interview in which he said he had no problem envisaging Russia as a member of NATO. " I do not see NATO as an alliance against Russia but as an alliance against terrorism" Zeman said.

CSA says Lebanese clients were not terrorists

The leading Czech airline company CSA which gave two men with Lebanese passports flight training courses at the beginning of this year has rejected claims of a possible link to terrorist groups. CSA spokesman Daniel Plovajko said in an interview for the BBC that the Czech Intelligence Service had checked out all individuals who had been given training courses over the past year and that no terrorist link had been found.

The story of the two Lebanese nationals and a possible terrorist link appeared in Saturday's edition of Mlada Fronta Dnes. The head of the CSA flight training center Milos Kvapil said the two clients had applied for training as part of their holiday activities in the Czech Republic. They allegedly paid for the courses in cash. Neither of the men are said to be on a list of people wanted by INTERPOL, but the paper pointed out that this was not decisive since none of the kamikadze pilots who undertook the terrorist attacks were on INTERPOL's list. Czech Airlines no longer offer flight training to civilians.

Hoax calls abound in the wake of US tragedy

In the wake of the US tragedy, Czech police are having to deal with an increase in the number of hoax threats. The number of anonymous hoax calls has increased right across the country, a police spokesman told newsmen. Most of these are reportedly hoax bomb threats in banks, court houses, trains, schools or the metro but there have also been cases of an anonymous caller reporting water contamination in a certain region.

Dalai Lama to visit Prague

The Dalai Lama is expected to visit the Czech Republic between October 14th and 17th to attend an international conference of philosophers, politicians and political analysts held at Prague Castle under the auspices of President Vaclav Havel. Although the Dalai Lama's visit was originally cancelled due to security measures in connection with the planned retaliation for the September 11th terrorist attacks, a letter from President Haval, who is a personal friend of the Dalai Lama's has led him to reconsider. The Tibetan spiritual leader has attended the Forum 2,000 Conference on two previous occasions. Other guests of honour at this year's conference are to be the Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Perez, the former US President Bill Clinton and the former German President Richard von Weizsacker.

And finally a look at the weather:

Morning fog should give way to partly cloudy skies on Sunday with temps between 18 and 22 degs C. Day temperatures on Monday and Tuesday are expected to be much the same. Nighttime temps between 8 and 12 degs C.