News of Radio Prague

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Palestinians disappointed by Czech vote

The Palestinian embassy in Prague has criticized the Czech Republic for voting against a UN resolution condemning Israel for "gross violations" of humanitarian law in the occupied territories. The resolution, approved by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva on Monday, condemned Israel for what it called "mass killings" of Palestinians in the West Bank. The resolution was approved by 40 countries. Five voted against, among them the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Germany. The Czech representative at the UN Human Rights Commission Alexander Slaby described the resolution as "one sided". In a protest note to the Czech authorities the Palestinian embassy has asked the Czech Republic to "at least" support the setting up of an international investigative team which would assess the situation in the occupied territories.

Czechs want more seats in EP

The Czech Republic has vowed to push for a fair allocation of seats in the European Parliament. The Czech Republic was allotted 20 seats under the terms of the Nice Treaty signed in December 2000, but it feels short-changed since other EU states with a similar sized population such as Belgium have more seats. The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said in Brussles on Tuesday it was important for the Czech Republic to join the Union on an equal footing and that his country would push for an adjustment. Hungary is in a similar position.

EU says Benes controversy must remain bilateral

Amidst continuing controversy over the post-war Benes decrees , the EU's ambassador to Prague Ramiro Cibrian has said that the possibility of compensating ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after the SWW must be resolved on bilateral level. He repeated that the EU did not consider the controversial Benes decrees an obstacle to Czech EU membership and suggested that the states involved resolve the matter between them. Sudeten German groups in Austria have been pushing for an international platform where they could present their property claims. One is the EU, another the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel does not approve of either of those proposals. In a related development, a delegation of Czech parliament deputies led by Foreign Minister Jan Kavan on Tuesday presented the Czech Republic's stand on the controversial Benes decrees to the European Parliament.

Czech Russian ties flourish

On a four day visit to Moscow, the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has told journalists that Czech-Russian relations are at their best since the fall of Communism. The Prime Minister was speaking to reporters after signing a number of bilateral agreements on the settlement of Russia's debt to the Czech Republic, among them an agreement under which Russia will supply the Czech Republic with military equipment as part of the pay-off. "Now that the debt- problem has been resolved we can concentrate of expanding business ties," Mr. Zeman said at Tuesday's press briefing. He is accompanied to Moscow by close to 70 Czech business leaders.

Call for new strategy in combating sexual abuse of children

The Czech Interior Ministry has been commissioned to present the government with a new strategy in combating child prostitution and sexual abuse of children for commercial purposes. The plan is to target pornography on the Internet and child prostitution among socially weaker groups of society. The police annually register around 1,400 cases of sexual abuse of children.

Finding a new base for RFE/RL is not easy

The Czech government is said to be looking for an appropriate piece of land on which it could build a new headquarters for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, according to Tuesday's edition of Lidove Noviny. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks against the United States, Radio Free Europe which is housed in a glass building at the top end of Wenceslas Square, has been under heavy security. The Czech government and the station's management have discussed the possibility of moving it to a safer location but no appropriate site has been found.

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast for Wednesday:

we can expect partly cloudy skies with some scattered showers in the north-western part of the country. Day temps between 9 and 14 degs C.