News of Radio Prague

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Voting in elections underway

Czechs are voting in the second round of elections to one third of the Senate, in which seats are contested every two years. Fifty two hopefuls face run offs in 26 districts after only one candidate, the controversial media mogul Vladimir Zelezny, booked an outright victory in last week's first round. Turnout last weekend was poor at 24 % , but officials expect a higher turnout for the run off as municipal elections are also being held around the country this weekend, giving voters an added incentive to cast ballots. Although the Czech Senate has limited powers in the two-chamber parliament, it will play a key role in selecting a successor to President Vaclav Havel, whose final term ends in January.

Law on airspace protection needed

The Czech government will meet over the weekend to approve a law which would enable the US Air Force to help protect Czech airspace during the November NATO summit in Prague. According to the Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda the proposed bill should clearly state who will be in command in the event of a crisis. Czech officials want the ultimate responsibility to rest with the Czech Defense Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik. At a press conference in Prague on Friday Minister Svoboda rejected rumors that the US Air Force was threatening to pull out of the operation because of conflict over command.

Czech Republic sends ammunition to Georgia

The Czech Republic is donating surplus ammunition to the Republic of Georgia at the request of the United States. According to a report published by the CTK press agency the donation, worth 5 million crowns, is tied to Georgia's effort to control Chechen rebels in the Pankisi Gorge, near the border with Russia's breakaway province of Chechnya. The US military is currently training Georgian security forces as part of its war on terrorism. Russia has cited lax security in Georgia as a factor in the Chechen attack on a Moscow theatre that left more than 100 dead.

Weather:

The weekend is expected to be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and snow in the higher altitudes. Day temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.