News of Radio Prague

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Kmonicek - Atta met Iraqi agent in Prague

The Czech envoy to the United Nations, Hynek Kmonicek, said that Mohammed Atta, one of the suspected hijackers involved in the September attacks on the United States, did meet an Iraqi agent in Prague just months before crashing a plane into the World Trade Center. Mr Kmonicek told the Prague-based English language weekly The Prague Post that the disputed meeting between Atta and the Iraqi agent Ahmad al-Ani took place in April 2001. Mr Kmonicek's statement comes several weeks after US officials said there was no evidence of Mr Atta meeting an Iraqi agent in Prague. The meeting, which several Czech officials have claimed took place, would be the only piece of evidence linking Iraq with the September attacks.

Hundreds of Czech and Slovak Roma apply for asylum in Sweden

Hundreds of Romanies from the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been applying for asylum in Sweden. In May, 74 Czech and 206 Slovak Roma asked for political asylum in the country, which is the same number as in the whole of 2001. None of the Czech and Slovak applicants were granted political asylum in Sweden either this or last year. Since January 111 Czech and 421 Slovak Roma have applied for asylum in Sweden. The majority of the Czech applicants are said to come from the north Moravian region of Ostrava. Swedish authorities say they think the attempts at mass-immigration from former Eastern Bloc countries are well organised.

Havel and Rau to open exhibition at Prague Castle

The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, and his German counterpart Johannes Rau will open an exhibition called "Samizdat" at the Prague Castle on Wednesday. The exhibition dedicated to underground culture in former communist countries will display more than 800 books, works of art and human rights manifestoes from the 1960s to the 1980s from the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and East Germany.

Czech astronomers discover new asteroid

Czech astronomers from the south Bohemian observatory at Klet discovered an unknown asteroid moving close to the earth on Sunday. The object, about 70 metres in diameter, passed our planet at a distance of 3.5 billion kilometres, which is relatively close by astronomical standards. The asteroid, with the international designation 2002 LK, is now moving safely away from the earth.

EU hotline receives its 100,000th query

A toll-free hotline for questions about what Czechs can expect from the European Union has received its 100,000th query since the phones started ringing in October, the Czech government said on Monday. The milestone was reached on Friday at 3 p.m. when accountant Petra Dvorakova telephoned with questions about the practical changes she can expect at work after the Czech Republic joins the E.U., probably in 2004. The phone line, operated on weekdays by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gets about 1,000 calls a day. Most questions concern the advantages and disadvantages of EU membership Recent polls have found a majority of Czechs favour EU membership, although EU scepticism among conservative voters is expected to play a role in next week's parliamentary elections.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. There will be clear skies on Tuesday night with temperatures ranging from 16 to 12 degrees Celsius. Wednesday will dawn bright and sunny but we can expect clouds and isolated rain showers or thunderstorms later in the day. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs of 28 degrees Celsius.