News of Radio Prague

Gross confirms Atta met Iraqi agent in Prague

The Czech Interior Minister, Stanislav Gross, confirmed on Friday that Mohammed Atta, one of the suspected hijackers involved in last month's attacks on the United States, met an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague this year. Mr Gross told a press conference that Atta met the agent, Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, on a visit to Prague in April. Two weeks after the meeting, al-Ani, who was posing as a senior Iraqi diplomat, was expelled from the Czech Republic for "activities incompatible with his status". Mr Gross confirmed that Atta also visited the Czech Republic last year. According to some reports in the media Atta was given anthrax spores during the meeting, although Iraqi officials have denied any involvement in the release of the anthrax bacteria in the United States.

Czechs bite bullet and accept restrictions on free movement of labour

The Czech Republic has finally agreed to accept restrictions on the free movement of its workers within the European Union after it becomes a member of the EU, falling into line with fellow candidates Hungary and Slovakia. Critics say the temporary restrictions on movement will produce second-class EU citizens, but Germany and Austria, who fear an influx of cheap labour from the east, have insisted on the measures. The 15-nation EU has agreed to impose flexible restrictions on eastern workers after enlargement ranging from two to a maximum of seven years. But several countries have already said they will not impose the restrictions. The first wave of enlargement is expected to take place in time for the 2004 European parliament elections.

Haider threatens EU veto over Temelin

Austria's junior coalition Freedom Party has said Austria refuses to give up the option of vetoing the Czech Republic's membership of the European Union, if Prague refuses to shut down the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant. The former chairman of the far-right party, Joerg Haider, called for Temelin to be transformed into a gas-fired plant. If the Czech Republic refused to listen to Austrian proposals for alternatives to Temelin, he said the country could be left with no option but to use its veto of Czech EU membership. The Freedom Party's senior partner in the Austrian government, the People's Party, said recently it would not veto Czech EU membership over Temelin, and some observers say there are serious cracks forming within the right-wing coalition over the issue.

Havel continues recovery from bronchitis, will stay in hospital

Doctors treating President Vaclav Havel for bronchitis say he continues to respond well to antibiotics and has been without a fever for more than 24 hours. However his spokesman said although the president was feeling better, doctors had no plans to release him from hospital. Earlier his office had said the president would attend celebrations on Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Mr Havel, who is 65, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday suffering from chronic bronchitis, probably caused by a viral infection. The illness was the latest in a series of health problems. His second and final term as Czech head of state ends in 2003.

Austrian police arrest 13 people after crossing Czech border illegally

Police in Upper Austria have arrested 13 people after they crossed the Czech-Austrian border illegally. Agency reports say the illegal immigrants were from Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine and Romania. All have been returned to the Czech Republic.

Six killed in head-on collision

Six people were killed on Friday in a road accident near the northern town of Louny. Police said two cars were involved in a head-on collision outside the town at around 5 p.m. One woman who survived the accident is fighting for her life in hospital.


And finally a look at the weather. Sunday will be another cloudy and cool day, with showers and rain forecast for some areas. Daytime temperatures will reach highs of 14 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of four degrees.