News of Radio Prague

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Spidla compares Klaus to Haider

The chairman of the minority ruling Social Democratic Party, Vladimir Spidla has accused lower house speaker and Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus of attempting to run a pre-election campaign that promoted a sort of nationalism that had nothing to do with patriotism. Mr Spidla said that Mr Klaus had been inspired by the former leader of Austria's Freedom Party, Joerg Haider. He added that the Civic Democrats have no political agenda that pertained to the Czech Republic's needs and therefore compensated for it with nationalistic messages that harmed the country. On Friday, Social Democrat and chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee Lubomir Zaoralek also compared Mr Klaus to Joerg Haider as well as to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, when he criticised Mr Klaus' reservations about European integration.

Over 100 people pay tribute to Jan Palach

Some 120 people took part in a ceremony on Saturday in memory of Jan Palach. Jan Palach died in hospital after setting himself on fire on January 16th 1969, in protest at the 1968 Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia. He was 20 years old. The memorial has been taking place in Jan Palach's home town, Vsetaty, every year since 1990. It is organised by the 300-member Jan Palach Association, which also produces bulletins on Palach and the reasons behind his self-immolation. According to the association's Lumir Horak, much of today's younger Czech generation no longer know what Palach died for and the yearly memorial served the purpose of reminding the Czech nation about its past.

ODA rejects call to merge with Freedom Union

The Christian Democratic Party (KDU-CSL) has called on the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) to merge with the Freedom Union (US) or be excluded from talks on the upcoming parliamentary elections. All three parties are members of the Four-Party Coalition. The Civic Democratic Alliance has been in the public eye recently due to a 68 million Czech crown debt it had with the Ceska Pojistovna insurance company. The party came to an agreement with Ceska Pojistovna on Tuesday, to pay 10 million crowns within 30 days and another 2 million crowns within 18 months. The rest of the debt is to be deposited into the Educational Programmes Foundation and will be paid back on a regular, long-term basis. The party plans to get the money from its party members and supporters, although their names are not to be disclosed. This solution, is unacceptable for the other coalition parties. They would prefer the merge with the Freedom Union, who had promised to take over the debt. The Civic Democratic Alliance, however, has rejected the offer, saying that it was unfair and would result in the party's forced liquidation.

Army steps up security around Ruzyne airport

The Czech army, according to the private TV station Prima, has increased security measures around Prague's Ruzyne airport. With the use of special surveillance equipment, an area equalling a circumference of 10 kilometres is to be monitored. Special focus will be on suspicious moving targets that could pose a threat to the airport's security.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Saturday night will have cloudy skies with occasional light snow in places. Night-time temperatures will range between -4 and 0 degrees Celsius. Sunday will have overcast skies with light snow in places, turning to rain in some areas. Daytime temperatures between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius.