News of Radio Prague

Government parties sign amendment to coalition agreement

Leaders of all three parties in the Czech ruling coalition signed an amendment to their coalition agreement on Wednesday to end a crisis threatening the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla. The coalition came close to breaking apart last Friday, when an MP from the right-of-centre Freedom Union voted against the government's tax reform bill, designed to raise money to pay for damage caused by the recent devastating floods. To punish the party for the renegade deputy, Mr Spidla initially planned to sack all three Freedom Union cabinet members. But he changed his mind after the Freedom Union threatened to pull out of the coalition. The new agreement calls for more discussion in future among the parties ahead of key votes. In exchange, the Freedom Union has guaranteed that all 10 of its members in the lower house will vote along government lines on key issues.

Havel meets Bush

President Vaclav Havel, who's on a state visit to the United States, has met the US President George Bush in the White House for talks on the fight against terrorism and the upcoming NATO summit which will take place in Prague. Representatives of 19 NATO members together with other 27 countries participating in the Partnership for Peace programme will meet in the Czech capital at the end of November. Mr Havel is accompanied on his visit by Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik, the Czech Ambassador to the US, Martin Palous, and the NATO summit chief organiser, Alexander Vondra. Taking part in the talks are also Mr Bush's National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Craig Stapleton.

Havel to push for NATO to accept seven newcomers

Before his departure Mr Havel said he would be pushing for NATO to take in seven post-Communist states in meetings with senior U.S. officials. The Czech President said he wanted NATO to accept Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the three Baltic states at its forthcoming summit in Prague. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became the first post-Communist countries to join the alliance in 1999.

Mobile phones to be renumbered before Saturday midnight

As part of the upcoming nationwide telephone renumbering scheduled for September 22, mobile phone numbers will be changed before Saturday midnight, that is prior to the three-hour renumbering of landline phone numbers, a spokesman for the mobile phone operator Eurotel told journalists on Wednesday. The only change concerning mobile phone numbers is the removal of zero at the very beginning of each number, that is the first digit of a four-digit prefix indicating the operator. If a mobile phone number already contains the international access code for the Czech Republic, no change will apply. In line with the decision of the Czech Telecommunications Office, between midnight of September 21 and 3 a.m. September 22, 2002 all telephone lines in the Czech Republic will be renumbered.

Weather forecast

Thursday will have partially cloudy to cloudy skies, with a chance of isolated showers in the south of the country. Daytime temperatures are expected to range between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.