News of Radio Prague

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Kavan to meet Arafat in Ramallah

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan is due to meet the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat next week during a visit to the Middle East. Mr Kavan, who will visit Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, will also meet the Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the Israeli President Moshe Qatzav. There were protests recently in the Arab world after the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, compared Mr Arafat to Hitler, and said the Palestinians should be expelled from Israel if they refused to accept Israeli conditions.

Sedivy: Slovaks ready to join NATO

The chief-of-staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Jiri Sedivy, has repeated his support for Slovakia's membership of NATO, during a meeting with Slovak officials in Bratislava. Mr Sedivy said the Slovak Army was undergoing rapid change and was fully prepared to join the alliance. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO in March 1999. Prague is to host November's NATO summit, where the alliance is expected to offer membership to a number of countries in Eastern Europe.

Police break-up alleged people-smuggling gang

Police say they have broken up an international gang believed to have smuggled around 1,000 illegal immigrants across the Czech border over the last two years. Police arrested 17 people, most of whom were Czech citizens.

Havel not invited to unveiling of memorial for Communist victims

The opposition Christian Democrats have complained that President Vaclav Havel has not been invited to the unveiling of a new memorial in Prague to victims of the Communist regime. The ceremony is being organised by the Prague 1 council, which is controlled by the right-of-centre Civic Democrats. The only senior official to be invited to the ceremony is the chairman of the lower house, Vaclav Klaus, who is also the leader of the Civic Democrats. The Civic Democrat mayor of Prague 1 said no-one had objected to President Havel's absence when the list was drawn up. He also explained that the chairman of the Senate, Petr Pithart, was not invited because he was once a member of the Communist Party. The ceremony will take place on May 22nd, three weeks before the elections.

New poll shows rising public confidence in Senate

A new poll has shown rising public confidence in the Senate, one of the least popular institutions in the Czech Republic. The poll, carried out by the CVVM agency, showed confidence in the Senate rising from 23 to 27 percent over the past months.

Czechs diplomatic mission in Bosnia to become embassy

The Czech diplomatic mission in Bosnia and Hercegovina is to be upgraded to embassy status. The current charge d'affaires in Bosnia, Alois Buchta, will be appointed Czech ambassador.

Woman sentenced to ten years for burning husband to death

A 41-year-old woman from a village near Karlovy Vary has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for burning her husband to death. The court heard how Miroslava Eskova poured a can of petrol over her sleeping husband, lit a match and locked the bedroom door. The man later died in hospital. The defendant claimed she had been subjected to years of violent abuse by her husband.

Weather

Finally a look at the weather. There's more changeable weather forecast for Wednesday, with sunny periods giving way to showers in many parts of the country. Temperatures in the daytime will range from 16 to 21 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of 8 degrees.