News of Radio Prague

Human rights groups call for Salikh's release

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said it is looking into the case of the jailed Uzbek opposition leader Mukhammed Salikh, who was detained at Prague airport on Wednesday on an international arrest warrant. Muhammed Salikh appeared in a closed door court hearing on Friday and was ordered held on an outstanding Uzbek arrest warrant pending an extradition hearing. The Uzbek opposition leader was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail for a bomb attack that killed 16 people. He lives in exile in Norway and is now reported to have asked the Czech authorities for political asylum. International human rights groups have been calling for his release, saying that the Uzbek opposition leader faces certain death if extradited to Uzbekistan.

Mixed reaction to Temelin deal

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has described the Czech-Austrian agreement on the Temelin nuclear power plant as "a victory for both sides". During break-through talks in Brussels on Thursday, Prague agreed to introduce tougher safety measures at the plant, while Vienna said it would not block the Czech Republic's accession talks with the EU. According to the Czech Prime Minister the cost of the additional safety measures should be approximately 100 million Czech crowns. Although international press agencies have hailed the agreement as "an example of good-neighbourliness" in Europe, Chancellor Schuessel's coalition partners, the far-right Freedom Party have rejected the deal as "totally unacceptable" and said they would fight on to see the plant closed. Political analysts say their stand could seriously threaten the Austrian governing coalition.

Democratic Union approves merger with Freedom Union

The Democratic Union, one of the smaller parties represented in the opposition Four party coalition has officially approved a merger with the right of centre Freedom Union. 160 out of 201party representatives voted in favour of the merger which is widely expected to improve the Four Party Coalition's chances in next year's general elections.

World AIDS Day

The Czech health authorities have marked World AIDS Day with a campaign based on greater awareness and prevention. Over the past three days there have been lectures, seminars and cultural events the proceeds of which go to accounts for AIDS victims. On Saturday, volunteers handed out leaflets and collected public donations on Wenceslas Square and other parts of town, while TV and radio stations featured debates with people infected with HIV. According to health statistics, there are 538 people infected with HIV in the Czech Republic, 153 have AIDS and 93 people have died of the decease. Some specialists say the actual number of people infected with HIV could be much higher. An estimated 40 million people across the globe are living with HIV.

And finally a quick look at the weather

Sunday should be another gray and overcast day with scattered showers and day temps between minus one and three degrees Celsius. Nighttime lows may drop to minus six degrees.