News of Radio Prague

Slovaks asked to help determine source of anti-tank rocket

The Czech authorities have asked the Slovak Interior Ministry to help determine the source of an armed anti-tank rocket launcher found near a runway at Prague's Ruzyne airport last week. Czech investigators have ascertained that the rocket launcher was one of a series delivered to the Czechoslovak Interior Ministry in 1980. After the break up of the Czechoslovak federation in 1993 the federal ministry's weapons arsenals were divided between the two countries. Investigators have identified the rocket as an RPG-75, a single use weapon produced by the Czech company Arms Moravia. The 68 millimeter rocket has a maximum range of 300 metres and can hit a target about 3 seconds after firing. According to military experts shooting down a plane with this rocket would be very difficult. However hitting a plane taxiing the runway would prove to be much easier, especially in a kamikadze attack.

Police spokeswoman Ivana Zelenakova said the police were investigating four possible theories including a planned terrorist attack or a mere provocation. Meanwhile, security at Ruzyne Airport remains tight, with soldiers and police officers patrolling the area.

Czech Intelligence Service confirms two visits by Atta

The Czech Intelligence Service has confirmed that Mohammad Atta, the man believed to have piloted one of the hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Centre last month, visited the Czech Republic twice in the course of this year. According to the Czech Intelligence Service Atta, an Egyptian, spent one day in transit at Prague's Ruzyne Airport, during which time he is believed to have contacted an Iraqi intelligence official, and on another occasion Atta stayed in Prague's Hilton Hotel for one night before leaving the country by plane. It remains unclear if his stay in Prague was related to the September 11th terrorist attacks against the United States.

Former UN chief weapons inspector Richard Butler has said a few days ago that he suspected an Iraqi agent might have handed Atta anthrax spores in Prague. Bagdad has denied that its secret service had any contact with Atta.

Government amends criminal code

The Czech government has approved an amendment to the criminal code which will enable the Czech Republic to meet Schengen rules on EU border traffic prior to membership. According to government spokesman Libor Roucek the proposed changes concern mainly international cooperation in enforcing border regulations and securing offenders. The implementation of the Schengen treaty border regulations will involve the imposition of a visa regime on a number of East European countries and making the Czech Republic's eastern border with Slovakia far more secure.

Police crack down on drugs ring

The police have cracked down on an international drugs smuggling ring, arresting 1O people and confiscating several kilograms of hard drugs, a million crowns in cash and illegally held weapons. Of the ten people arrested seven are nationals of the former Yugoslavia, one is a Pole and two are Czechs. In the operation, code named Kaffara, the police also sealed off a laboratory for the production of pervitin, a Czech drug smuggled to a number of West European states.

Afghan drugs shipment headed for Europe

In a related development, the head of the Czech drugs law enforcement unit Jiri Komorous told newsmen on Monday that there were indications that the Afghan drugs mafia had dispatched a large consignment of drugs to Europe immediately prior to the US retaliatory air strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan. We have reason to believe that the Afghan drugs mafia has singled out the Czech Republic as a new drugs gateway to Europe, Komorous said. At present drugs from Afghanistan reach the Czech Republic via the so called Balkans route from Turkey.

Rapist sentenced to eleven and a half years in jail

A Czech court has sentenced a thirty two year old man to eleven and a half years in jail for brutally assaulting nine women. The judge found Miroslav Toth guilty of rape, attempted rape, physical assault and robbery. He has also been ordered to undergo psychological and sexual therapy. Toth, known as the "rapist of Jizny Mìsto" terrorized the inhabitants of Prague for several weeks last summer and was finally captured when his victims helped to put together a police portrait of the much feared assailant.

And finally a quick look at the weather:

Tuesday should bring partly cloudy skies with intervals of sunshine and occasional showers, especially in the northern parts of the country. Day temps between 10 and 15 degs C.