News of Radio Prague

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Government say yes to professional army

The Czech government has approved the project of reforming the Czech Army as put forward by the Czech Defence Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik. Under the plans, the Czech Army will become fully professional in the year 2007. The government session, which took place at the Defence Ministry, was also attended by the Czech President Vaclav Havel.

Government postpones sale of majority stake in Cesky Telecom

The government has decided to postpone the sale of its majority stake in the dominant fixed-line telephone operator Cesky Telecom, as neither of the two bidders have met the government's requirements. Two consortiums made it to the final round, one consisting of the Deutsche Bank, the Blackstone Group and TDC and the other of CVC Capital Partners, Spectrum Equity Partners and Swisscom. The Czech government was asking 60 billion crowns or 1.7 billion US dollars for its 51-percent share in Cesky Telecom.

Government refuses contract proposal

The Czech government has rejected the draft of a contract for the completion of an 80-kilometre stretch of motorway in North Moravia, a task granted last year to the Israeli company Housing&Construction without a public tender. The government has refused the second draft of the contract in two weeks.

Temelin's first reactor disconnected again

The first reactor at the Temelin nuclear power station, which was connected to the national grid for the first time in two months on Sunday morning, was disconnected again later on Sunday. The plant's spokesman said the reason had been a minor defect on a steam pipe. Until Sunday Temelin had been shut down for repairs to the non-nuclear part of the station. The safety of the plant, which combines Soviet design and western operating technology, continues to cause controversy.

Gross- Atta met Iraqi diplomat in Prague

The Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross says that terrorist Mohammed Atta, a suspected pilot in the September attacks on the United States, did meet an Iraqi diplomat in Prague. Mr Gross says this information comes from intelligence services and he says he cannot comment further on the matter. Mr Gross was reacting to claims in the latest issue of the US weekly Newsweek, which says Atta visited Prague but did not meet an Iraqi agent.

Czech and Polish prime ministers lay wreath at Terezin concentration camp

The Czech prime minister, Milos Zeman, and his Polish counterpart, Leszek Miller, laid a wreath at the Terezin World War II concentration camp in central Bohemia. Mr Miller, who was on a two-day visit to the Czech Republic, said on Saturday that Terezin had suffered in a similar way to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, and that people should not forget such terrible places. Some 32,000 people died at Terezin, known in German as Theresienstadt, while 100,000 inmates were later killed at other concentration camps.

Ministers Kavan and Tvrdik visit Kuwait

The Czech foreign minister, Jan Kavan, and the defence minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik, visited Kuwait during the weekend, where they met the 250 soldiers from the Czech Army's anti-chemical unit deployed there as part of the U.S. "Enduring Freedom" operation. The ministers were accompanied by two popular Czech singers, Anna K and Martin Maxa who performed a concert for the unit on Saturday.

Weather

Monday night is expected to be cloudy and rainy with temperatures falling to lows of 2 degrees Celsius. Tuesday should be partly cloudy with scattered rain showers and temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius. Good news for Wednesday, May 1st which is expected to be bright with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 24 degrees Celsius.