News of Radio Prague

Senior EU official criticizes anti-European approach of populist politicians

The EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Gunter Verheugen has told the European Parliament in Brussels that the lack of differentiation between individual candidate countries and a delay caused by prepared countries waiting for those less prepared would only play into the hands of populist politicians who try to make anti-European capital. Verheugen mentioned as an example the Speaker of the Czech Lower House, Vaclav Klaus. Verheugen added populist politicians might use any delay by claiming "The EU doesn't want us - it only wants our markets." The Commissioner said that as soon as a candidate country meets all EU requirements, it must be told the firm date of its accession to the Union.

The President reminded people of Soviet occupation

In a statement given on Thursday President Vaclav Havel said that Czech society should not forget that more than 10 years ago, this country was occupied by the Soviet army. President Vaclav Havel made his remarks to Czech Radio, Czech TV and the CTK news agency, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the departure of the last Soviet soldiers from former Czechoslovakia. The president said many people who had experienced the Soviet occupation have wiped this fact from their memories and younger generations are growing up who have never lived in an occupied country. According to Mr. Havel, the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, which began in 1968, has substantially influenced the lives of people, as well as the moral climate in the country, and that it was an experience other communist countries did not have to live through.

Chairman of the Upper House taken to hospital after visit to Ireland

The Chairman of the Upper House of the Czech parliament, or Senate, Petr Pithart, spent Thursday night in a hospital in Prague, after contracting a lung infection. He flew from Prague from Dublin, where he had been on a 4 day official visit. He began to feel unwell while still in Ireland, and before flying home underwent a blood test and X-ray in a Dublin hospital. Talks during Mr Pithart's stay in Ireland were dominated by questions surrounding the recent Irish referendum rejecting the Nice Treaty on EU expansion.

Czech-Austrian border to be blocked on Sunday

The authorities in the Upper Austria decided on Thursday not to allow a blockade of the Czech-Austrian border, planned by five local organizations of anti-nuclear activists for this coming Sunday. They are prepared to renew blockades in protest against plans to put the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia back on line. According to the APA news agency, some of the activists have responded by saying the blockade would take place under any circumstances, as an "emergency defence measure". However, it will not be held right at the border crossing, but some 500 metres away. The Upper Austrian governor, Josef Puhringer, has sent a letter to Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, in which he says that documentation from an environmental impact study into Temelin, which was sent to Austria, was allegedly incomplete.

Fagan braces for acquainting the World Economic Forum with his further steps

American lawyer Edward Fagan, who represents Austrian anti-nuclear activists and is considering filing a lawsuit against the Czech Republic over the controversial Temelin nuclear power station, said he would disclose his next steps at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, which starts on June 28th. Fagan told the Czech News Agency in Vienna that he was convinced a possible catastrophe at the plant could cost the Czech Republic trillions of crowns.

Reprimand for North Bohemian judges for delays

The disciplinary senate of the Supreme Court in Prague has reprimanded six judges of the Regional Court in the North Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem. The disciplinary senate has ruled that the judges had been delaying court proceedings in a substantial number of cases, but it admitted at the same time that the situation at the Regional Court was critical. The seventh judge has been acquitted due to her young age and due to the fact that she had only recently started her professional career. The judges have appealed the decision.

Ice-hockey club owner faces charges of fraud

The owner of the ice-hockey club in the North Moravian town of Vsetin, Roman Zubik, is facing fresh fraud charges. He has already been accused of fraud amounting to more than half a billion Czech crowns. On Thursday, a local investigator accused Mr Zubik of having cheated the company Paramo out of 129 million Czech crowns in 1997, whom he promised a supply of crude oil. But he apparently used the money for his own entrepreneurial activities instead. Zubik is in custody at present and Czech and Slovak police officers have been investigating whether he participated in the murder of former Slovak minister Jan Ducky, who was shot dead two years ago.

Motol hospital - does it have two general managers

According to the Health Minister Bohumil Fiser, the largest hospital in the Czech Republic, the Motol hospital in Prague has only one legitimate general manager, Miloslav Ludvik. Mr. Ludvik was appointed by minister Fiser last year. But the hospital's former general manager, Helena Rognerova says the minister's declaration changes nothing after a Prague court ruled on Wednesday that her dismissal last year was invalid. Rognerova had been dismissed by the previous health minister, Ivan David but she has never picked up her notice from the post office. She said she had always been interested in her hospital's prosperity, taken responsibility for its good work and was prepared to take over as soon as the verdict comes into force.

Weather forecast

And finally a look at the weather: We expect a cloudy weekend with rain showers in places and daytime highs between 17 and 22 degrees Celsius.