News of Radio Prague

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Fifth Forum 2000 conference gets underway

The fifth and last conference in the Forum 2000 series, which brings together leading world figures and thinkers, officially got underway at Prague Castle on Sunday. The series of international conferences was conceived by Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, and aims to identify and analyse the challenges facing mankind at the beginning of the new millennium. The topic of this year's conference is "Human Rights - Search for Global Responsibility". Renowned names such as former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, Cuban dissident Elizardo Sanchez, U.S. writer Francis Fukuyama, as well as former President of Germany Richard von Weizsacker will be participating in the conference, which comes to an end on October 17th.

Zeman proposes deficit increase to finance universities

In a television programme on Sunday, the Prime Minister, Milos Zeman said that if the opposition Civic Democrats should fail to support the government's proposed state budget for next year, the Social Democrats would increase the state budget deficit. The Civic Democrats and the minority ruling Social Democratic Party are bound by a controversial power-sharing pact, which defines the terms under which the Civic Democrats will support the ruling party. One of the conditions was that the state budget deficit would gradually decrease in order for the overall public finance deficit to meet the Maastricht criteria in 2003. According to Prime Minister Zeman, however, the 10 billion Czech crown deficit agreed on with the Civic Democrats would be increased to 15 billion Czech crowns, if the Civic Democrats should refuse to support its state budget proposal. He added that this would allow for two billion Czech crowns to be given to Czech universities who have been complaining of dramatic under-funding after money promised by Education Minister Edvard Zeman failed to materialise.

Interior Ministry campaign against corruption

The Interior Ministry has launched a massive campaign against corruption. Its goal is to better inform the public of the consequences of bribery and its negative political and economic impact on all of society. To advertise for the campaign, the ministry has put up a total of 1500 posters with sketches by Czech artist Vladimir Rencin, in trams and metros. Posters, postcards, photographs, and short movies, all focusing on the negative effects of bribery, were also displayed in a tent on Wenceslas Square at an exhibition called "Art against Corruption" which was part of the 10th international conference against corruption and came to an end last Friday.

Austrian politician defends Temelin

Austria's commissioner for EU enlargement, Erhard Busek has criticised Austrian political powers for their negative approach to their neighbours' reforms and preparations for EU membership. Mr Busek also defended the Czech Republic saying that some Austrians have used the opposition to the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia to their advantage, in order to attain higher positions and more public support. According to Mr Busek, the threat to veto the Czech Republic's entry into the EU because of Temelin was just an attempt by the Freedom Party to get public support for the next elections. Mr Busek questioned the claims of some Austrians to be worried about their safety because of Temelin, pointing out that there were many more dangerous nuclear power plants in nearby countries that Austria has been quiet about.

PM says potential RFE/RL locations already chosen

The Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman confirmed on Sunday that the government has already picked out a number of potential locations to which the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) station could be moved, in case it should be too dangerous to stay in the centre of Prague. If it should come to an attack on the Radio Free Europe building, Mr Zeman said, it would have unimaginable consequences and it would therefore be sensible for the station to be moved to an area where surveillance would be easier and the number of casualties would be minimal. Mr Zeman said that the government would order the move as soon as it should prove impossible for the building, at its current location, to be protected from terrorist attack. On September 27th, the Interior Minister Stanislav Gross ordered for armoured personnel carriers and elite troops to be deployed outside the U.S.-funded RFE/RL building upon the receipt of information of a planned terrorist attack.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Monday will have clear skies with temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Monday night shall see partially clear skies with early morning fog and temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius. Day-time temperatures on Tuesday shall range from 17 to 21 degrees Celsius.