News Saturday, SEPTEMBER 09th, 2000

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Written/read by: Libor Kubik

From Monday September 18th Radio Prague's broadcasts in English on the f101.1 FM frequency in Prague will change. Instead of our current times of 7.15am, 1.15pm and 5.30pm, we will broadcast a fifteen-minute programme at 9.45am, and our half-hour programme will move to the later time of 9.30 in the evening. You will also be able to hear our broadcasts not only in Prague but also on the BBC's FM frequencies in other Czech towns and cities.

Anti-nuke activists block Czech-Austrian border crossings

Austrian anti-nuclear activists completely blocked six Czech border crossings for one hour on Friday in protest of the planned launch of the Temelin nuclear plant in Southern Bohemia, just north of the Austrian border. Only pedestrians were allowed to pass.

The blockade followed one day after the European Parliament passed an Austrian- sponsored resolution calling on the Czech government to carry out an environment impact assessment of the plant before it goes on line.

In reaction to this the Czech foreign ministry said on Friday that Euro-MPs had incomplete or wrong information about Temelin's safety standards.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said it had no objections against the launch of Temelin, which it considers structurally safe and ready for operation.

Shadow foreign minister Jan Zahradil of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party accused the EP of arrogance, saying the EP had demonstrated its bias against Prague on several occasions before.

Temelin, which marries Soviet technologies to advanced Western safety systems, is to be put on line before the end of September.

Prague Jews to bury ancient remains on new location

The Prague Jewish Community has decided re-bury medieval remains from a long- defunct burial ground in Vladislavova Street in the city centre at the New Jewish Cemetery, in an attempt to end a long-drawn-out dispute between a Czech savings bank and Orthodox Jewish groups in the West.

The Community's elder Jiri Danicek said on Friday the burial would be performed with all prescribed rites.

Medieval bone remains were found in Vladislavova Street as the Ceska Pojistovna savings bank began redeveloping the site for its new administrative building.

The ancient cemetery became defunct in the 14th century. It is not the famous Old Jewish Cemetery, where Rabbi Loewe, reportedly the creator of the mythical Golem, was buried.

Ethnic groups protest alleged racial slur

The Czech League of Ethnic Minorities has strongly attacked the Deputy Speaker of the Lower House for a gaffe in which he compared communists to Black Africans in the presence of the press last June.

Mr. Ivan Langer, in remarks directed at the Prime Minister Milos Zeman's aides, had said that a former communist is just as unreal as a former Negro.

His insensitive remarks offended many members of the League, which also associates African residents of the Czech Republic. They asked Mr. Langer for a public apology. However, Mr. Langer was adamant on Friday that he stood by his statement and saw no reason for apology.

Czechs to build school in Kosovo

The Czech branch of the Adventist civic association ADRA and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday they had reached an agreement on building a school in Kosovo. The ministry said it would provide most of the funding.

Czech soldiers serving with the KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo have said the old school building in the village of Ballofc, where they are stationed, is in dilapidated condition and should be torn down.

ADRA has been active on Czech soil since 1992.

Walter, RR sign aero engine parts delivery contract

The British engineering giant Rolls-Royce and the Czech aircraft manufacturer Walter have signed a 12-million-dollar contract on the delivery of plane engine parts.

Over the next five years, Walter will supply various smaller components for a range of Rolls-Royce power plants, including those for a new, extended-range line of Airbus jetliners.

Ice-hockey: Czech Dopita rejects NHL offer to stay home

Czech ice hockey centre Jiri Dopita has ended weeks of speculation by saying he would remain with the local team Vsetin and not join the NHL's Florida Panthers.

Dopita, who helped the Czechs to win Olympic gold in 1998 and the last two world ice hockey championships, had indicated that he would finally move to the NHL if Vsetin did not settle outstanding debts to some of its players.

Dopita was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 1998 entry draft, before Florida gained his rights. The Panthers have said they have put an unspecified contract offer on the table hoping to lure the talented Czech to help fortify their offence.

Czech weather forecast

And finally, a look at the weather here in the Czech Republic.

Saturday will be a fair day with only scattered showers and maximum temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius, cooling to between eight and 12 degrees in the night.

Sunday's daytime highs will be between 21 and 25 Celsius.