News of Radio Prague

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EU candidate countries' foreign ministers hold talks in Prague

Foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers from the ten countries hoping to become members of the European Union in 2004 have held talks in Prague, at the invitation of the Czech foreign minister, Cyril Svoboda. Mr Svoboda said while the ten EU candidates did have their own specific national interests, certain matters were important to all of them, including budgetary issues and agricultural policy. Pavel Telicka, the Czech Republic's chief negotiator on accession, has said in the past that Czech farmers would have to accept lower subsidies than those received in existing EU countries.

Czechs reportedly planning "moral political gesture" over Benes decrees

The Czech government is apparently planning to make a "moral political gesture" aimed at satisfying German and Austrian critics of the post-war Benes decrees, the DPA news agency reported on Tuesday. A spokesman for Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda told DPA that the "prospective" gesture had yet to be expressed by the government, but that, if issued, it would resemble a 1997 joint declaration of regret by the Czech Republic and Germany. The Czech government has repeatedly refused to repeal the decrees, under which Czechoslovakia's German minority were expelled after World War II.

Man confesses to brutal murder of elderly priest

A 28-year-old man has confessed to the brutal murder of a Roman Catholic priest in the north Moravian town of Dub nad Moravou. Cyril Vrbik, who was 78 and had served in the parish for over 20 years, was found dead with an axe in his head in front of his parochial house early on Tuesday morning. The killer has also confessed to attacking a taxi driver on Monday night, though police have yet to establish a motive for his crimes.

Prague crime rate down 17 percent in last three years

The crime rate in the Czech capital has fallen by 17 percent in the last three years, a Prague police spokesperson said on Tuesday. The most common crimes are pick-pocketing, car theft and the burglary of cars and homes, and 100,000 crimes were reported in the city last year. Reasons for the fall in the crime rate are said to be a rise in the number of police officers on the streets, and increased use of video surveillance; Prague police currently use 160 cameras to monitor the city's streets.

Wild Bees chosen as Czech nomination for Best Foreign Film Oscar

The Czech nomination for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film will be Divoke Vcely, or The Wild Bees, by director Bohdan Slama, the Czech Film and Television Academy announced on Tuesday. The Wild Bees, Mr Slama's second film, is a portrayal of a small village in Moravia and its quirky inhabitants.

Weather

Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with rain in places, and temperatures of between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.