News of Radio Prague

Radio Free Afghanistan to be part of RFE in Prague

The United States has specified its requirements for a new location to which the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty should be moved from its present headquarters in the centre of Prague. The Prime Minister Milos Zeman, who is currently on an official visit to the United States, told journalists in Austin that the Czech Defence Ministry was looking for a suitable location. For the time being it can offer four or five army buildings which are no longer being used. The present RFE building in Prague, a potential target of a terrorist attack, is currently being patrolled by Czech army elite troops and four armoured personnel carriers. The US House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a bill on the establishment of a new radio station, Radio Free Afghanistan, which is to broadcast in the two local languages, Pashtu and Dari, and is to be a part of RFE in Prague. The bill has been passed almost unanimously and the Czech Prime Minister has voiced his approval of broadcasts to Afghanistan. The Minister of the Interior, Stanislav Gross said on Thursday this meant the introduction of tighter security measures in the Czech Republic.

Prime Minister Zeman criticises Boeing for bad management of its Czech branch

Prime Minister Milos Zeman intends to complain to the US plane manufacturer Boeing for what he says is its bad management of the Czech plane producer Aero Vodochody. Aero has been facing problems in the production of L-159 fighter planes and delayed deliveries of the planes to the Czech army. "My criticisms concerns particular individuals, not the Boeing company as such," the Czech Prime Minister said in Washington on Thursday. Mr. Zeman is to meet president George Bush on Friday to discuss with him the present U.S.-led campaign against terrorism and the further expansion of NATO.

Czech haulage companies prevented from providing services in EU

The European Commission has proposed to its member states to introduce a 4-year transition period for the Czech Republic and some other candidate countries concerning haulage companies. This would prevent Czech haulage firms from providing transport services in all EU countries for four years after the country joins the Union. The European Commission says the main reason for this move is the lower price of haulage in the candidate countries, which could damage haulage companies in the EU.

TV Nova's lawyer kept in custody to prevent him from influencing witnesses

Ales Rozehnal, the lawyer and close associate of Vladimir Zelezny, the general director of the Czech Republic's biggest private TV station, Nova, has been taken into custody to prevent him from influencing witnesses, judge Pavel Sedlacek told the CTK news agency on Thursday. Zelezny himself has been at the centre of an international business dispute and both men have been charged with fraud. Mr. Sedlacek said that during a police raid on Wednesday at Nova's studios and house searches in eight places in Prague and central Bohemia important materials had been found. Following the findings, four new witnesses will be called to testify in the near future, Mr. Sedlacek announced.

Austrian anti-nuclear activists call for the energy chapter within the Czech Republic's EU accession talks not to be closed

The Upper Austrian 'Platform Against Nuclear Danger' called on Thursday on Austrian politicians to take into consideration a list of Temelin's faults they have prepared called the 'black book' when negotiating the closing of the energy chapter within the Czech Republic's EU accession talks. Austrian anti-nuclear activists have for some time been voicing strong opposition to the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia, just 50 kilometres from the Czech-Austrian border. They say the plant is not safe, quoting a study carried out by the Austrian Institute for Risk Research. The Austrians said they would send the 'black book' to the Czech president, the prime minister, other ministers, the Czech Nuclear Safety Office and Czech media. Meanwhile, the Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said in Brussels on Thursday that an agreement would be signed between the Czech Republic and Austria, to seal the process of consultation over Temelin agreed at a bilateral meeting in the Austrian town of Melk. The agreement will become a part of the Czech Republic's accession treaty with the EU.

The opposition criticises cabinet for breaking promises

The leader of the opposition Christian democrats, Cyril Svoboda said at a press conference on Thursday that the government was acting in a cowardly and irresponsible manner, because it makes promises only to break them later. Mr. Svoboda was referring to the cabinet's promise of a pay rise in January for public sector employees. The pay rise was postponed to April a few weeks later because of a new draft state budget, which will have to envisage a lower deficit. Mr. Svoboda said this was a style of ruling the country which enables the rulers to take away from those who are most vulnerable. Teachers' and medical workers' trade unions have been on strike alert since last week, threatening to strike if their demands are not met.

Danish student before court in Prague

Prague Municipal Court on Thursday returned the case of Danish student Mads Traerup for retrial. Traerup faces charges of attacking a public servant during demonstrations against a session of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Prague last September. The Municipal court has therefore overturned a ruling by the Prague 1 district court, which acquitted Traerup. Traerup was accused of hitting a policeman with a wooden stick and throwing a cobble stone at another a few moments later.


And finally a quick look at the weather: Saturday and Sunday will see partially cloudy skies and occasional snow showers. Daytime highs between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.