News Saturday, AUGUST 26th, 2000

UN calls for prevention of discrimination in the Czech Republic

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on the Czech Republic to amend certain laws in order to prevent discrimination against the Roma minority in housing, education and employment. The committee further urged the Czech Republic to prosecute perpetrators of incitement to racial hatred and violence against minorities, in particular against the Roma. The UN committee also asked the Czech authorities to end practises of racial segregation, including placing disproportionate numbers of Roma children in special schools.

Molterer: Temelin must be resolved before completion of energy chapter

The Austrian Environment Minister, Wilhelm Molterer, has stated that before the Czech Republic can complete the energy legislation chapter as part of its EU accession talks, the question of the safety and competitiveness of the Temelin nuclear power plant must be resolved. Mr. Molterer said that the upcoming activation of Temelin, which is due to take place in September, is a particularly critical situation, and he hopes that the Czech government will rethink its policy. The Austrian Environment Minister also pointed that the Czech government has signed an agreement in which it proposed to investigate the impact of Temelin beyond the borders of the Czech Republic.

Zeman: Operation Lead a plan to discredit the government

Prime Minister Milos Zeman has stated that Operation Lead, a plan which was allegedly meant to discredit deputy parliamentary speaker Petra Buzkova, was organised and financed by an unspecified institution. This affair, the prime minister said, was similar to the so-called Bamberg affair. The Bamberg affair surfaced prior to the general elections in 1998, and involved documents claiming illegal financing for the ruling Social Democrats. The aim of Operation Lead, as with the Bamberg affair, the prime minister stated, is to discredit the government. It is alleged that Operation Lead was created by some of the prime minister's own advisors. The prime minister has suspended two of his advisors, whose names have been involved in the scandal surrounding Operation Lead, until a police investigation into the case has been completed.

Benes Decrees not condition for EU membership, says Ferrero-Wagner

According to the Austrian Foreign Minister, Benita Ferrero Wagner, Austria will not make the Czech Republic's accession to the EU conditional upon the annulment of the Benes Decrees. The Benes Decrees were issued after WWII, and involved the forced expulsion of up to three million Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia. The Austrian government has frequently called upon the Czechs to annul the decrees. The organisation representing Sudeten Germans in Austria has criticised the foreign minister's statements, and said that the government is not fulfilling its promises. As part of the coalition agreement signed between the People's Part and the Freedom Party last year, the government called for the annulment of the Benes Decrees. The Austrian foreign minister then subsequently assured the Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan that Czech EU membership will not be linked to the issue.

And finally, the weather forecast. A ridge of high pressure will move into the Czech Republic from the north over the weekend, and the country should see dry weather with partially cloudy skies. The highest daytime temperatures should reach twenty three degrees Celsius on Saturday, and twenty seven on Sunday. I'm Nick Carey, and that's the end of the news.