News of Radio Prague

Rivers rising after more heavy rain

Fears of rivers rising in the eastern parts of the country due to storms and heavy rain that have hit the country in the past few days still prevail as weather forecasts predict more rain well into the week. There are already reports of flooding in some parts of Moravia, and many rivers have been placed on flood alert. The basements of several houses in the Moravian capital Brno have been flooded, while storms in the Olomouc region brought down trees and power lines. There were no reports of any injuries. The Czech Meteorological Office has said there should be no repeat of the catastrophic floods which hit the region in 1997, leaving many people dead and thousands homeless.

Kavan insulted by German Environment Ministry

In an interview for the Austrian daily, Die Presse, the Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said that he was insulted by last week's letter sent by the German Environment Ministry asking for Temelin to be shut down. He said that the Czech government would never have put Temelin into operation if it didn't believe the plant was safe. Mr. Kavan also said that he was sure the Czech government would succeed in convincing the people of Austria that their safety would be guaranteed as highly as Czech citizens. He said it was insulting that the Czech government had been accused of toying with the safety of not only its own citizens but also those from Austria and Germany. He said such views were arrogant and political statements, which did not respect the rights of sovereign states to make their own decisions on energy policy. Mr. Kavan welcomed, however, the stand of the Austrian Environment Minister, Wilhelm Molterer, who said that he hoped to continue with the Melk agreement and constructive dialogue.

Customs officials seize 1.3 kg of cocaine

Customs officials at Prague's Ruzyne airport say they seized 1.3 kg of cocaine being smuggled by a 42 year old man from Poland who was travelling from Chile. The cocaine had an estimated street value of 4.2 million Czech crowns. The cocaine was found hidden in the side walls of the man's backpack. The customs officials had been tipped off beforehand that the suspect was travelling from Zurich and made the discovery with an x-ray machine. If found guilty, the suspect could face a prison sentence of up to five years. If he is found guilty of working with an organised gang, he could be charged with a prison sentence of up to ten years.

Prison system battles drug abuse

Staying with drugs, the Czech prison system says it is still battling drug abuse amongst prisoners. According to the prison service's spokesperson, Miloslava Havlickova, despite recent attempts to clamp down on the rising use of drugs, prisoners are still finding ways to smuggle them into their cells. One still, very popular way of doing so is within packages brought by relatives and friends. At times, prison guards catch visitors giving drugs directly to the prisoners. In some cases, prisoners bring in the drugs from their working places outside the prison premises. Mrs. Havlickova also added that many prison doctors are put under a lot of pressure by prisoners to prescribe them medicines. Most of the drugs are found in powdered foods, books, pens, and cosmetics.

Czech soldiers prepare for KFOR

Some 200 Czech soldiers said their good-byes to their garrison and the public on Saturday morning in the Moravian town of Prostejov. At the end of July, they leave for the province of Kosovo as part of the peace-keeping mission KFOR. The soldiers, four of whom are female, received special training from pyrotechnics in reaction to a recent tragedy in which a Czech soldier was killed whilst trying to diffuse mortar shells in Bosnia. Most of the group, ranging between the ages of 25 and 35, will not be placed in the Balkans for the first time. The group is to monitor a 42 kilometre stretch of land on the Kosovo-Serbian border and is to protect local people and assist humanitarian organisations and the international police.


And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Saturday night is expected to overcast to clear skies with occasional showers in the eastern areas of the country. Night-time temperatures shall range between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius. Sunday shall also partially cloudy skies with temperatures ranging between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.