News of Radio Prague

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Agriculture ministry bans use of risk meat

The Czech Ministry of Agriculture has banned the use of cow, sheep and goat meat scraped from bones in food production. This meat is commonly used in the production of minced meat products and is believed to be potentially risky for the transfer of BSE to humans. The ban has been imposed as a reaction to the confirmation of a of BSE, or mad cow disease, in a farm in South-Eastern Moravia. One cow at the Dusejov farm tested positive on BSE. More than 130 other cows at the farm were slaughtered, but none was found to be infected with the disease.

The State Veterinary Authority estimates that the cow contracted the disease 4 or 5 years ago through infected milk feed, but no concrete proof for the source has been found.

Energy sector employees on strike alert

The trade unions at electricity production companies have gone on strike alert to support their demands concerning a planned restructuring and privatisation of the energy sector. The trade unions have threatened to cut off electricity supplies and prevent imports from abroad, unless a socially sensitive programme is adopted to soften the impact of the planned privatisation of the industry. They fear that up to 66 percent of employees in the energy sector may lose their jobs in the process. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has not reacted to the announcement of the strike alert as yet, saying it must first analyse the demands.

Czechs favour EU integration - poll

According to a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Empirical Research, about three quarters of Czechs would welcome a referendum on the country's membership of the European Union. However, 40 percent of those asked would hesitate to take part in such a referendum. The poll showed that if a referendum on the Czech Republic's accession to the EU were held in the near future, about two thirds of Czechs would vote in favour of integration.

Czechs commemorate WWII hero paratroopers

Around 200 people attended a solemn ceremony in Prague on Monday to commemorate Czech paratroopers who assassinated of one of the most powerful representatives of Nazi Germany, Acting Reichsprotektor Reinhrad Heydrich, 59 years ago. After the attack, the men eventually found refuge in the Russian orthodox church of St. Cyril and Methodeus in Prague. After a fierce battle against German troops, they killed themselves on the 18th June 1942.

Drug dealers receive high prison sentences

The Supreme court in the town of Olomouc has sentenced a Ukrainian national and a Czech accomplice to 10 and 8.5 years in prison respectively for drug trafficking. The two men were found guilty of selling nearly a kilogram of heroin, with a street value of 1.3 million CZK or more than 30 thousand USD. This was the first case the Czech police applied new legislation allowing the use of undercover agents in fighting organised crime.

Defence industry performance improves

Sales in the Czech defence industry grew by 10 percent year-on-year to around 114 million USD in 2000, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced. Exports of weapons and ammunition in 2000 increased by a third while imports dropped by 8 percent. The Czech Republic has had a positive trade balance in the arms trade since 1995.

Czech weather report

And finally, a brief look at the weather. On Tuesday, weather in the Czech Republic will be influenced by an inflow of cold air from the North-West. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers. The highest daytime temperatures should range from 14 to 18 degrees Celsius. Wednesday and Thursday should be partially cloudy with occasional showers, and with afternoon highs hovering around 20 degrees Celsius.