News of Radio Prague

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Politicians, church leaders, public remember September 11 attacks

Politicians, church leaders and members of the public have held a minute's silence for the victims of last year's attacks on New York and Washington, as the world marks the first anniversary of September 11. Czech politicians, church leaders, traders on the stock exchange and many others stood in silence to remember the dead. People also gathered at the statue of St Wenceslas on Wenceslas Square, in a silent show of respect.

President Havel urges solidarity, self-reflection

President Vaclav Havel expressed his solidarity with the people of the United States on their national day of mourning, and urged the world to learn from the attacks. Mr Havel said the anniversary should be spent in "self-reflection and contemplation." He described the events of last September as "an attack against values that permeate and uphold our civilisation". President Havel plans to travel to Washington next week for a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.

Kavan: fight against terrorism must continue

Meanwhile in New York itself, the former Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan opened the U.N. General Assembly by calling on the international community to continue the fight against terrorism. Mr Kavan, who was elected President of the General Assembly earlier this year, told delegates the international coalition against terrorism must be upheld. The assembly is due to hold a commemorative service on Wednesday for those who died. Mr Kavan will preside over the General Assembly's 57th annual session until next September.

Czech Republic repeats commitment to NATO summit

The Czech Republic has repeated its commitment to host the NATO summit in November, in the wake of the devastating floods that hit the country in August and amid fears of a possible terrorist attack. The Czech carmaker Skoda has promised free armoured luxury cars to VIPs, and President Havel announced he was arranging a Prague Castle dinner for international military chiefs. The NATO summit is expected to draw up to 12,000 participants, including senior military officers, defence ministers and up to 46 heads of state from around the world.

Foreign currency reserves from tourism fall by over 10 percent

Analysts say foreign currency revenues from tourism fell by over 10 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2002, mainly due to the strong crown. They said the strong crown was responsible for 95 percent of the fall, while the floods in August could be responsible for a 7 - 8 percent fall in the number of hotel bookings by the end of the year.

Government approves bill on European Parliament elections

The government has approved a bill on elections to the European Parliament. The bill sets down the rules for election of Czech representatives to the European Parliament, and if approved by the Czech parliament, will take effect on the day the Czech Republic joins the European Union. Czech MEPs will have a five-year mandate, one year longer than the mandate of members of the Czech lower house, the Chamber of Deputies. EU enlargement is expected at the beginning of 2004, and elections to the European Parliament will be held in the same year.

Weather forecast

After a foggy start, Thursday will be a mostly clear and sunny day, with temperatures rising to 20 degrees Celsius. Scattered showers are forecast in some parts of the country. Temperatures at night will fall to lows of six degrees.