News of Radio Prague

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Havel calls on Czechs to pay respect to September 11 victims

On the eve of the 1st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, President Vaclav Havel called on Czech citizens to pay their respect to the victims of the events and show sympathy to the American people. Mr Havel said last year's terrorist acts had attacked the values which were at the core of our civilisation and the need to protect those values had - according to Mr Havel - enhanced people's sense of security. President Havel also said he hoped the November NATO summit, which is going to take place in Prague, would evaluate the recent experience. The November summit is going to be the alliance's first meeting since last year's attacks on the United States.

Kavan to preside over UN General Assembly

The Czech Republic's former foreign minister Jan Kavan, who is assuming his one-year presidency of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in New York, has said the UN should play an active role in resolving the situation concerning Iraq which is facing a threat of a US attack. Mr Kavan told journalists on Monday that he preferred a political and diplomatic solution to war and bloodshed and as President of the General Assembly, he had to seek a broader consensus between states. The 57th session of the General Assembly takes place against the backdrop of the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks and US threats to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iraq. The heads of state and government who will address the assembly over the next two weeks are expected to devote considerable time to the war against terrorism, but any UN authorisation for action against Iraq would have to come from the UN Security Council, which is meeting on Wednesday, September 11th.

British Lord Chancellor: Romanies face no persecution in Czech Republic

The British Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine of Lairg who's on a visit to the Czech Republic has described Czech Roma applying for political asylum in Great Britain as economic migrants. After a meeting with his Czech counterpart Petr Pithart, Lord Irvine said he was sure ethnic Romanies faced no persecution in the country and their human rights were not threatened. He added that the immigration controls at Prague's Airport were justified, denying they were discriminatory. The presence of British immigration officers at Prague's main international airport is part of a bilateral agreement between the Czech Republic and Great Britain, who both want to avoid the re-introduction of a visa regime. The arrangement was concluded in the wake of a mass exodus of Czech Romanies to Great Britain, many of whom have since been extradited from the country.

Palas: Czech farmers need not fear EU accession

Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas, who's accompanying Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla on a visit to Denmark, has said the Czech government should guarantee Czech farmers their situation will not worsen after the country joins the European Union. Mr Palas has been trying to negotiate better terms for Czech farmers with EU agriculture ministers. He has described the talks as tough but he has also said the Czech Republic won't give up efforts to negotiate the best possible terms within the EU.

European Parliament to receive analysis of Benes decrees by end of September

Experts appointed by the European Commission and the Czech government are expected to produce an analysis of the possible present implications of the Benes decrees by the end of September. The European Union's commissioner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen told MEPs on Tuesday the result would be submitted to the European Parliament. Mr Verheugen who had previously suggested the post WW2 decrees would not hinder the Czech Republic's bid to join the EU, said on Tuesday the Czech post-election political scene was more flexible in its approach to the matter. The expert analysis is expected to determine whether the post-war piece of legislation is in harmony with EU law. The controversial decrees, signed by the Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes in the wake of WW2, sanctioned the expulsion of some 2.5 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia.

Weather

On Wednesday, the northeast of the country should have partly cloudy skies with isolated showers. The southern part of the Czech Republic is expecting overcast skies with rain or thunderstorms. Daytime temperatures on Wednesday are expected to range from 21 to 25 degrees Celsius.