News of Radio Prague

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Central bank lowers interest rates

The Czech central bank in a surprise move cut interest rates to historic lows on Monday. In the second rate cut in less than two months, the central bank reduced the overnight lending rate to 3.5 per cent, down one-quarter of a percentage point from 3.75 per cent. The bank also trimmed two other key rates by one quarter of a percentage point: The two-week repo rate was cut to 4.5 per cent and the Lombard rate was lowered to 5.5 per cent. All new rates take effect on Tuesday. In recent months Czech exporters have been hurt by the crown's strength against European currencies, the euro and the dollar. Monday's meeting was an extraordinary session of the board of governors, which was not expected to meet until Thursday.

Klaus: Zeman's words on Haider and Temelin unfortunate

The Chairman of the Czech Lower House Vaclav Klaus has said he considers Prime Minister Milos Zeman's statements on Austrian Freedom Party ex-chairman Joerg Haider and the anti-Temelin referendum extremely unfortunate. Vaclav Klaus said on Monday that he is convinced that the Czech public have got used to Zeman's strong words. However, this time such statements have been used against foreigners who are not accustomed to it, Mr Klaus said. For the last week Mr Zeman and Mr Haider have been trading insults.

Zeman: Klestil should have read interview before condemning it

Prime Minister Milos Zeman said on Monday that he was surprised that the Austrian president, Tomas Klestil, had condemned statements made by Mr Zeman in the Austrian magazine Profil without having read the interview. Mr Klestil criticised Mr Zeman's statements in a telephone conversation with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Havel on Sunday. In the interview - which was published on Monday - Mr Zeman described the Freedom Party's Joerg Haider as "a populist, pro-Nazi politician who does not understand anything, but speaks about everything". Milos Zeman said he would not make judgements on the content of an interview before reading it. However, the magazine had already published the interview with Mr Zeman on its website at the weekend.

Plzen murderer still at large, city offers reward

The Plzen townhall is considering offering a 100,000-crown reward for information contributing to the capture of a man who killed two during a raid on a jewellery shop in the centre of the city on Saturday morning. The man shot a shop assistant and a passer-by dead while trying to rob the jewellers. The man is still at large. The mayor of Plzen Jiri Sneberger has said that police patrols in the city will be stepped up.

Czech scientist claims idea for new U.S. lie detector

The Czech scientist Vaclav Poche claims he discovered a biological principle 20 years ago which is now the basis for a new lie detector test developed in the United States, but communist bureaucracy kept him from getting the credit. Mr Poche said he discovered a way to determine whether someone is lying by measuring the temperature in a corner of the eye. A rise in temperature, he said, shows the brain is working harder to cover up the truth, while a steady temperature signals honesty. The same principle is behind a new lie detector test announced recently by experts at the Mayo Clinic in the United States. The test, which is said to be highly reliable, uses a special thermo-sensitive camera to record temperature changes in the eyes. Poche said he tried to register his discovery with the patent office of the former Czechoslovak communist regime, but was told his application papers were not in order.

Weather

And finally a look at the weather. The night will be overcast with scattered rain showers and fogs. Night-time temperatures will range from 4 to 0 degrees Celsius. Tuesday morning will be foggy with isolated drizzle and there'll be more clouds and rain in the afternoon. Daytime temperatures will range from 5 to 10 degrees Celsius.