News of Radio Prague
Czech opposition parties say Falcon allegation must be cleared up
Czech opposition parties have asked the government to clear up doubts regarding the credibility of Falcon Capital, an investment company which recently bought up two thirds of Russia's debt to the Czech Republic. A Russian journalist with the weekly Novaja Gazeta claims that Falcon Capital is directly linked to a parent company owned by Osama Bin Laden, the man believed to be behind the September 11th terrorist attacks against the US. The centre right Civic Democratic Party and the Four Party Coalition have said that the allegation is so grave it cannot go unanswered. Both the Czech and Russian governments have rejected the claim as absurd, saying Falcon Capital had received the all-clear both in Prague and Moscow.
US government will agree to re-locate RFE under "certain conditions"
The US government has said that "under certain conditions" it would not oppose a Czech government plan to move Prague-based Radio Free Europe to a safer location away from the city center. Victoria Middleton, spokeswoman for the US embassy in Prague, said Washington would agree to re-locate the station only if the new site afforded better security and the same work conditions. RFE's director of broadcasting Jeff Trimble said on Monday that RFE did not want to move out of the city centre but that it would consider all options. Acting on the recommendation of the National Security Council, the Czech government has reportedly considered five potential buildings which could house the station but none appear to have met with approval from the RFE management. The glass plated building at the top end of Wenceslas Square has been under heavy security since the September 11th terrorist attacks against the US.
Austrian Freedom Party furious over Czech PM's remarks
Austria has issued an official protest over remarks made by the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman in connection with the ongoing Temelin controversy. Addressing current tension in bilateral relations over a nationwide petition organized by the Austrian Freedom Party in view of vetoing Czech membership in the EU if the Temelin nuclear power plant is not closed down, the Czech Prime Minister said that "the sooner Austria got rid of Mr. Heider and his post fascist party the better." Freedom Party leader and Vice Chancellor Sussane Riess Passer has expressed outrage at the attack on her party , accusing the Czech Prime Minister of "democratic immaturity" and saying that he was obviously not ready for Europe or democracy.
Former prosecutor walks free
The Supreme Court has halted criminal proceedings against Karel Vas, a former public prosecutor under the communist regime who is believed to be largely responsible for the sentencing and execution of general Helidor Pika following a mock-trial conducted in 1949. The eighty five year old Vas was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in jail by a lower court of justice some time ago and the verdict was later overruled by a court of appeal on the grounds of a statute of limitations pertaining to the case.
Czechs set up second largest winter Olympics team in country's history
The Czech Republic is sending its second largest winter Olympics team to Salt Lake City with 78 athletes due to make the trip. Nearly one third of those will be defending gold medallists - the men's hockey team, with 23 nominations. High hopes for a medal have also been placed on women's cross country skier Katerina Neumannova, who currently leads the World Cup standings. Freestyle skier Ales Valenta is also seen as a likely medal hope. The largest Czech winter Olympics team ever attended the Albertville Olympics in 1992, when the country sent 79 athletes to the games.
We can expect a cold and overcast night with temps dropping to minus 9 degs C. Wednesday should be partly cloudy with scattered sleet or snow showers and temps between minus 1 and minus 5 degs C.