News of Radio Prague

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Freedom Union elects new leader

The opposition right-of-centre Freedom Union party has elected Hana Marvanova as its new leader. She replaces Karel Kuehnl, who was recently elected the leader of the Four Party coalition, which unites four smaller right-of-center opposition parties. Marvanova is the first woman in Czech history to become the leader of a political party represented in parliament. Marvanova hopes to lead her party to election victory in 2002.

Russian debt to be settled within a month

According to Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, Russia's debt towards the Czech Republic should be settled within a month. Mr Zeman negotiated the settlement of the debt last week in Saint Petersburg. The Russian Federation owes the Czech Republic 3.6 billion USD. Russia will pay it back in parts in cash, goods, nuclear fuel, and military material.

First slave labour compensations paid in CR

The first payments to World War II forced labourers and other elderly victims of the Nazi era were issued on Friday in the Czech Republic. The first wave of beneficiaries include about 10,000 of the estimated 100,000 Czechs believed to be eligible for the compensation programme.

Czech concentration camp survivors are to get 15,000 German marks each, forced labourers 5,000 marks apiece and other victims are eligible to receive up to 5,000 marks. Officials have pledged to process the payments quickly, since more than a dozen eligible victims in the Czech Republic die every week.

Czech Communists: let's re-introduce socialism

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia has reiterated its aim to change the social systém in the Czech Republic. Communist deputy leader, Vlastimil Balin, said that the ultimate goal of his party was to introduce socialism. In order to achieve that, the Communists want to systematically infiltrate civil society structures as well as to make the party's internal structure and processes more efficient. The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia is the legal successor of the former ruling Czechoslovak Communist Party, whose regime was overthrown in the so-called Velvet Revolution in 1989, which brought about democratic changes. With 120 thousand members, the Communist party is the largest political subject in the country but only one third of its members are aged under 60.

Police arrest suspected drug dealers

The Czech police have arrested three foreign nationals suspected of large-scale drug dealing. The police consider the men to be middlemen in the drugs trade and suspect them of having sold several dozen kilograms of heroin in the few past years. The police also seized more than a kilogram of the drug, laboratory equipment, illegal firearms and forged documents. The group allegedly distributed heroin in the Czech Republic and built distribution channels in Germany.

5-year old girl still missing

Some 100 police are still searching for a five-year-old girl who has been missing since Wednesday. Tereza Cermakova from the Central Bohemian town of Kladno disappeared while playing in a sand-pit at a Kladno housing estate. So far, there has been no sign of the little girl and a special team of detectives has been put on the case to investigate her disappearance.

Weather forecast

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. We are expecting a partially cloudy day with occasional showers throughout the weekend, with daytime temperatures ranging from 14 to 18 degrees Celsius.