News of Radio Prague

Havel and Zeman favour Slovak NATO membership in 2002

On the first day of a two-day visit to the Czech Republic by Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, Czech President Vaclav Havel and Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman have expressed their support for Slovak membership of NATO in 2002. The Slovak president told reporters he expects that support for Slovakia's NATO membership aspirations from the Czech government, and in particular from President Havel, will play a strong role in Slovakia's integration into the Alliance. According to President Havel, the next wave of NATO expansion will definitely include Slovakia. Both presidents praised the current level of relations between the two countries, which have improved greatly since the 1998 election defeat of former Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. Following talks with leading Czech officials, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and President Schuster stated that it would be ideal if Slovakia could join Alliance at the NATO summit in 2002, which is due to be held in Prague.

Chvalovsky out on bail

The chairman of the Czech and Moravian Football Association, Frantisek Chvalovsky, who is facing charges of large-scale fraud has been released on bail. Mr. Chvalovsky was arrested on Tuesday morning on suspicion of loan fraud totalling 640 million Czech Crowns, or just over seventeen million US dollars. The state prosecutor has filed charges against Mr. Chvalovsky, and requested that he be held on remand until his trial. The commercial court for the Prague 1 district turned down the state prosecutor's request on Thursday, and released Mr. Chvalovsky on bail of ten million Czech Crowns.

Czech-Russian upper house agreement signed

Representatives of the Czech and Russian and Czech upper houses have signed an a co-operation agreement in Prague. Relations between the two countries have been strained for some years, and have begun to experience a thaw in the past few months. According to Czech Senate chairman, Petr Pithart, the agreement will usher in anew era of dialogue between Russia and the Czech Republic.

New York Court freezes Zelezny's accounts

A court in New York has frozen the bank accounts of the head of the commercial television station TV Nova, Vladimir Zelezny. The District Court for the southern district in New York upheld a plea from the American company CME, which has been fighting a property dispute with Mr. Zelezny over TV Nova, to have Mr. Zelezny's accounts frozen in order to prevent him, or his associates, from transferring funds to or from banks in the New York area. An arbitration court in Amsterdam ruled in mid-February that as part of the resolution to the dispute, Mr. Zelezny will have to pay CME a total of twenty seven million US dollars. According to a representative of CME, Mr. Zelezny has the right to appear before the court to appeal the ruling.

Hunter receives conditional sentence for shooting incident

A district court in Moravia has handed down a six month conditional sentence to a hunter who accidentally shot a boy on a sledge at the end of last year, when he mistook the boy for a wild boar. The boy was injured in the thigh in the incident, and required two weeks' medical treatment. The hunter has also received a four year ban from owning, carrying or using firearms. According to a local police spokesman, the boy was lucky that the hunter did not have a steady hand when he opened fire.

Drink driver on bail after killing two pedestrians

A driver who allegedly drove into a tram stop in the Western Bohemian city of Plzen on Tuesday night, killing two pedestrians, has been remanded in custody pending trial. Two other pedestrians were seriously injured in the incident. The man in question was apparently under the influence of alcohol at the time. The man has been charged with manslaughter and with failing to help those injured in the incident. If convicted, he could face up to ten years in prison.

Police in Prague arrest suspected international drug smuggler

Police in Prague have arrested a suspected member of an international drug smuggling ring, who also is wanted by the police in Holland. The forty-three year-old Dutch citizen is suspected of being a part of a gang that has smuggled up to thirty thousand kilograms of cannabis through Europe to Holland since 1997. The man is currently in custody in Prague awaiting extradition to Holland. A police spokeswoman said that the man is believed to have been in hiding in the Czech Republic for at least three months.

Upper Austrians to intensify fight against Temelin

Member of the Green party in Upper Austria say they intend to intensify their fight against the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. Although party representatives refused to give specific details of future protest actions, they said their main aim is to prevent the import of nuclear energy into Austria. The Temelin nuclear power plant went back on line earlier this week after a shutdown last month, and opposition to the station in Austria remains strong. The issue of Temelin has severely strained relations between Austria and the Czech Republic in recent months.

And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast

Saturday should see overcast skies, with isolated snow showers, falling as sleet in places. Daytime high temperatures are expected to reach as high as ten degrees Celsius. Night-time lows on Friday could drop to as low as minus four degrees Celsius.