News of Radio Prague

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Christian Democrats and Freedom Union agree on Civic Democratic Alliance debt settlement

The leader of the Christian Democratic Party Cyril Svoboda has revealed that the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union have found a solution to the current crisis within the Four Party Coalition. The crisis was brought on by the Civic Democratic Alliance's unresolved debt of 68 million crowns. At a press conference Thursday Mr Svoboda said it would now be up to members of the Civic Democratic Alliance to decide whether or not they would accept the solution proposed by their partners. Mr Svoboda went on to say the offer would be discussed at the Civic Democratic Alliance's central assembly on Sunday. The Four Party Coalition council will also meet on Sunday night to definitively bring closure to the problem. In the meantime Mr Svoboda did not want to reveal any details on Thursday's agreement, for fear they might jeopardise further party dealings.

Cibrian: Anti-Temelin petition will have no effect on Czech Republic's accession to EU

The head of the delegation for the European Commission Ramiro Cibrian has met with the head speaker of the Czech Lower House, Vaclav Klaus, in order to ease fears over Austria's recent anti-Temelin petition. Mr Cibrian told Mr Klaus on Thursday that the petition would have no effect on the Czech Republic's accession to the EU, and he said that a solid majority of EU countries fully support the Czech Republic's candidacy. Mr Cibrian also pointed out that even within Austria the vast majority of Austrians support the Czech Republic's place in EU expansion. The Czech Republic is expected to join the European Union in 2004.

Foreign Minister extends invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin

Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, who is currently in Moscow on dealings with Russian political counter-parts, has said that he would welcome a visit by Russian president Vladimir Putin at this year's annual NATO summit, set to take place in Prague in November. At a press conference in the headquarters of the Russian daily Iszvestia Thursday Mr Kavan said he would welcome closer ties between NATO and the Russian Federation, which he added, had produced important results in the fight against international terrorism. The diplomat said he believed the terms for dealings with a Russian representative committee at NATO's November summit would be set at the meeting of the NATO council in Rekjavik, Iceland, in May. Meanwhile, in Moscow Mr Kavan will meet with Russian Prime Minister Michail Kasjanov, to discuss future ties between Russia and the Czech Republic: on the table for discussion are bilateral trade, the problem of organized crime, and long-term payments of Russia's remaining financial debt to the Czech Republic.

Hyundai spokesman denies reports of planned car manufacturing plant

The spokesman for Hyundai Motors has denied reports from Wednesday that the South Korean company was considering building a production facility in the Czech Republic. Wednesday the Czechinvest company announced that talks were underway for Hyundai Motors to build a manufacturing plant in the eastern part of the country, worth tens of billions of Czech crowns. But, Hyundai spokesman Stephen Kitson has now said he has no idea where the information came from, and said it would be a mistake for anyone to think that any such decision had been reached. He also added that while the company would eventually consider a new manufacturing plant in Europe, it was currently looking for a production site in the US. In the recent past, the Czech Republic has attracted two car manufactures with the possibility of investing in the country: BMW, and PSA Peugeot-Citroen-Toyota. BMW chose Leipzig, Germany over the central Bohemian town of Kolin, leaving PSA Peugeot Citroen- Toyota to chose Kolin as the site for its 1.3 billion U.S. dollar investment.

3 new Czech films represented at 31st International Film Festival in Rotterdam

The 31st International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands got underway on Wednesday and once again Czech films are expected to make a strong showing. Among the Czech films to be screened at the festival this year are three full-length features: Parallel Worlds by director Petr Vaclav, Expulsion from Paradise, by aging director Vera Chytilova of Czech New Wave fame, and Wild Bees by Bohdan Slama, whose film is in official competition.

Weather

And finally, a look at the weather. Thursday evening will be partially cloudy with slight rain fall in places and the possibility of light snow flurries. Temperatures will fall to lows between 3 and - 1 degrees Celsius.