News of Radio Prague

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Interior Minister meets with Arab diplomats

The Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross has met with embassy officials from Arab countries after they expressed fear of increased hostility toward Arabs in the Czech Republic. The Interior Minister promised to remain in close contact with the embassies in question and take immediate action should problems arise.

He said that although there were no interior ministry regulations targeting Arabs in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the nationals of Arab countries were occasionally subjected to closer scrutiny at border check-points and airports. Border police need to make sure that people who gain entry to the Czech Republic are not on INTERPOL's "wanted list", and since September 11th, tightened security has effected everyone, the Interior Minister pointed out.

Scare at Ruzyne Airport

An incident at Prague's Ruzyne Airport, on Friday morning, in which two men, believed to be Arabs, spilt an unidentified liquid in the airport's main terminal has turned out to be a false alarm. A chemical analysis determined that the liquid was plain water. The men's clothes were also subjected to a chemical analysis. The spilt liquid was allegedly brought to the attention of security guards by airport personnel who have been alerted to report any suspicious incidents.

Czech PM denies claim that Atta visited the CR twice

On an official visit to Germany, the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman on Friday denied reports that the suspected suicide plane hijacker Mohamed Atta had held two meetings with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague before the World Trade Centre attacks. Atta spent a day in the Czech Republic in transit at Prague's Ruzyne Airport –but on no other occasion is he known to have entered the country and there is no reason to assume that his one day presence here had any connection with the terrorist attacks on Septemebr 11th, the Czech Prime Minister said. His remarks follow comments made by a US source that Atta visited the Czech Republic twice – in April and June of this year – and on both occasions met with an Iraqi intelligence official.

German Chancellor on Temelin and EU

After talks with the visiting Czech Prime Minister, the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that the Czech Republic's controversial nuclear power plant at Temelin would not delay the country's planned admission to the European Union. Chancellor Schroeder said that concern over the nuclear power plant would not have any impact on closing the energy policy chapter in Prague's accession talks with the EU. He described bilateral ties as "problem- free" and said that the Czech Republic could count on Germany's "unconditional support" in the matter of EU expansion. The two heads of Cabinet allegedly devoted a great deal of time to the international situation and means of fighting international terrorism.

Czech-Austrian cooperation

Government regulators in the Czech Republic and Austria have agreed to cooperate in the supervision of banks doing business in both countries. The agreement signed on Friday by the Czech National Bank and the Austrian Finance Ministry, is the latest step in the Czech Republic's efforts to harmonize its laws with EU standards. Currently Austrian banks control nearly 24% of the assets in the Czech banking sector.

And finally a quick look at the weather:

We can look forward to bright and sunny weather over the weekend. Morning fog should give way to clear skies in most parts of the country. Day temps -between 18 and 22 deg C on Saturday and between 20 and 24 on Sunday.