News of Radio Prague

Havel to present his vision of NATO

President Havel is to share his vision of the future role of NATO at an international conference in the Slovak capital Bratislava. The conference entitled "Europe's new democracies: leadership and responsibility" is attended by the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia, all countries aspiring to join European security structures and become NATO members. A decision on the second wave of NATO's expansion eastward is to be made at a NATO summit in 2002 which is to take place in Prague. Addressing the conference NATO Assistant Secretary General Klaus Peter Klaiber said NATO and the EU must re-evaluate their relationship in the face of a new Europe.

Defense Minister to revise spending

The new Czech defense minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has confirmed plans to reduce army personnel and property in an effort to increase the army's action capability on a lower budget. Minister Tvrdik said that although some units operated on approximately a fifth of their former funding, money was being squandered elsewhere and it was up to the new army leadership to tap every source available and channel it into building a smaller, highly operational army. The use of buildings and services is to undergo an in-depth revision. The minister did not say how many civilian employees the army planned lay off. He has been given three months to produce a blueprint on building a professional army.

Temelin back on the agenda

On the eve of another round of bilateral talks on the safety of the Temelin nuclear power plant, Austrian anti-nuclear activists have again called for the plant to be closed down permanently. Austrian environment minister Wilhelm Molterer, who is due to meet in Prague with the Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan on Saturday, is under growing pressure from the Greens and the opposition SPO to broach the subject of scrapping the controversial power plant. Opposition to the plant in Austria increased following the news that it was to be closed down for two months of repair work.

Turning now to sport

Sparta Prague coach Ivan Hasek has announced that he will not renew his contract with the Czech first division champions. Hasek, who guided Sparta to consecutive titles during his two year stint as coach, will leave Sparta at the end of this season. He said the decision was definitive and that he had no concrete plans for the future.

And, there is now official confirmation of the news that the Czech Republic will host the World Ice Hockey Championship in 2004, a year later than planned, following a swap with Finland. The International Ice Hockey Federation approved the change of plan on Friday.

And finally a look at the weather:

The coming weekend should bring clear to partly cloudy skies and temps between 19 and 23 degs C. There may be some drizzle on Saturday but the weather should get progressively better, with Mondays temp shooting up to 25 deg C.