News of Radio Prague


Greenpeace activists climb Spolana cooling tower

On Sunday, environmental activists climbed up a 200-metre cooling tower at the Spolana chemical plant, 20 kilometres north of Prague, in hopes of winning compensation for local victims of a chemical spill that occurred during last year's devastating flood. Authorities detained four members of the environmental organisation Greenpeace but four men and three women managed to scale the Spolana factory tower. The climbers have draped a banner on the tower that says "Stop dioxin, mercury, PCB, HCB." They include activists from the Czech Republic, Austria, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. A local fire-fighter representative told Czech Radio that, for safety reasons, officials would not try to bring down the protesters. Greenpeace spokesman Vaclav Vasku said the activists were prepared to stay on the chimney until the Spolana management committed itself to reducing pollution levels and helping victims of the 2002 flood. But strong winds forced the environmentalists to stop the campaign and climb down the tower on Sunday evening.

Czech regional governors visited USA to learn about US local government

Seven Czech regional governors and their deputies ended an 18-day trip to the USA this week-end during which they gathered information about the US local government system. Their visit was financed by the USA within an annual project on local and regional administration. This year's project was prepared especially for Czech governors. Starting in Washington, the group visited Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Arizona, Indiana, and lastly New York. Josef Pavel, the deputy chairman of the Czech Association of Regions told Czech Radio that the trip had given them an opportunity to see how various nations and ethnic groups co-existed.

US citizen found guilty of murder of Czech businessman

A court in Florida has found a US citizen guilty of shooting and killing a Czech businessman on July 31, 2000. Matthew McKinney was charged with the murder of Petr Pospisil, who had hired him to do computer work and later help manage two cleaning businesses, which are believed to have illegally employed foreigners as janitors and maids in the areas of Panhandle, Pensacola, and Panama City. Mr McKinney maintained his innocence and repeatedly claimed the real killer was Mr Pospisil's Czech partner, Vladimir Janko, who had shot the victim and asked Mr McKinney to help bury the body. Mr Janko has not been questioned because he has disappeared and investigators believe he is back in the Czech Republic. It is yet uncertain what sentence Mr McKinney will get. He can face a sentence of life in prison without parole.

Vaclav Havel receives Malaysian peace prize

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel, has been presented with the main peace prize at this week-end's Kuala Lumpur World Peace Conference in Malaysia at which representatives from various governments and non-governmental organisations from around the world met to discuss possible ways to ensure lasting peace in the world. Mr Havel was honoured for his lifetime struggle for world peace and justice as well as his efforts to uphold and defend principles of freedom and tolerance. The Czech Ambassador to Malaysia, Vitezslav Grepl, accepted the prize on Mr Havel's behalf on Sunday.


Monday is expected to be another hot day with temperatures reaching a maximum of 33 degrees Celsius.