News of Radio Prague
Schroeder's Prague visit postponed
The German government has announced that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit to Prague has been postponed for the time being; the government gave no reasons for the decision. The postponement comes in spite of remarks by Mr Schroeder's spokesman on Wednesday, indicating that political tensions between the Czech Republic and Germany had lessened. Relations between the countries flared recently over statements in an interview by Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, who likened Sudeten Germans to traitors for whom post-war expulsion was better than the death penalty. Mr Zeman's remarks drew a wave of criticism from politicians in both Germany and the Czech Republic. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's visit had been scheduled for March; it is now being speculated that the visit will be postponed until after Czech general elections in June.
A Prague court has ordered the release of Vladimir Hucin, the former intelligence officer with the Czech Republic's counter-intelligence service, remanded in custody and currently on trial in connection with seven criminal charges. Among the charges against the defendant: illegal arms possession and the illegal use of confidential information. The court says that the reasons for Mr Hucin's confinement have passed; meanwhile, his trial continues.
Srejbr denied delay in start of prison sentence
And in another legal proceeding a Czech court has refused to allow a delay in the start of a prison term to be served by Milan Srejbr, the retired tennis player turned businessman, found guilty of fraud. Mr Srejbr was supposed to begin serving his five-year prison sentence on February 25th, but applied for a court delay for reasons of poor health. State deputy Stepanka Laznova says that unless Mr Srejbr petitions the country's supreme court, he will be expected to begin serving his term shortly.
Number of Czech asylum seekers to Britain in decline
The British Home Office has released statistics revealing that the number of Czechs seeking political asylum in Britain has been declining steadily. In 1999 British immigration officials processed almost twice as many Czech applications as last year, which saw just a little over 900 put forward by Czech asylum seekers. At the same time, the number of Czechs detained by immigration officials has gone up. Britain does not recognise asylum claims from Czech citizens: currently five Czechs have been allowed to stay in Britain in the interim of their cases before final rulings are reached.
Army helicopter crashes
A W-3A Falcon Air Force helicopter crashed during exercises at an airport in the south Bohemian town of Pilsen Thursday. No crew members in the crash were injured. Air Force officials are investigating the reasons behind the accident, which was similar to another W-3A crash in Prague last year, in which three crew members were seriously hurt.
Slovan Liberec secures place in UEFA Cup quarter final after crushing Olympique Lyon
The Czech football side Slovan Liberec has defeated Olympique Lyon in Thursday evening's UEFA Cup 4th round second leg match, securing a place in the quarter finals. Liberec won soundly with a 4 - 1 victory; three of the side's goals came late in the second half. Olympique Lyon become the Czech team's greatest scalp following Real Mallorca, Celta Vigo, and Slovan Bratislava.
And finally a look at the weather for the coming hours. Thursday night will be cloudy with clear patches and a possibility of snowfall. Temperatures will drop to lows between 2 and -2 degrees Celsius.