News Sunday, MAY 16th, 1999

Radio Prague Enews Written/read by: Rob Cameron Date: 16/5/99

Hello and welcome to the programme. I´m Rob Cameron, first a look at the news headlines.

And now for the news in detail.

Austrian environmental groups have denied allegations in the Czech media that they are planning a terrorist attack on the Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia. The newspaper Pravo claimed on Friday that the Czech secret services believed radical environmental groups in Austria were collaborating with counterparts in the Czech Republic to plan an attack on the plant. The Austrian environmental organisation Global 2000 says the claims are absurd, while Upper Austria´s commissioner for nuclear affairs says the allegations are part of a deliberate campaign of disinformation by the Czech nuclear power industry. The Czech government announced on Wednesday that Temelin would be completed by the year 2000, ignoring protests from environmental groups, who say the plant is unsafe. Austria has reacted angrily to the decision, with Chancellor Viktor Klima warning that it could affect Prague´s bid to join the European Union.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia say they have made important progress in negotiations over the division of former Czechoslovak federal property. Premier Milos Zeman said after meeting his Slovak counterpart on Saturday that the first of four disputes over former federal property had now been resolved. The dispute concerned the two countries shares in each others´ central banks. Zeman told reporters that experts involved in negotiations had been given two weeks to draw up an agreement on the exchange of shares in the two banks. Zeman said he was convinced all outstanding disputes would be settled by the end of this year.

There has been fresh criticism by President Vaclav Havel over a plan to build a controversial wall to divide a street in the North Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem. The wall is to separate Romany rent-defaulters living in tenement buildings on one side of the street from white house-dwellers living on the other. The house-dwellers have complained about noise and rubbish produced by the Romanies, while the Romanies themselves say they were moved into the tenements against their will. Havel criticised remarks by the city´s mayor, who described a study of the street carried out by Havel´s Vision 97 foundation as unneccesary. The study claimed that the wall had turned a social problem into a racial issue. The decision to build the wall has been universally condemned by human rights groups both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Ice-hockey fever has once again taken hold of the country, as the national team prepares to meet Finland in the world championship finals this weekend. The Czech team, which won a gold medal at last year's Nagano Olympics, scored a serious of victories over Canada, Sweden and the United States to reach the final. The Czech Republic first won the world championship in 1996, and will be hoping for a repeat performance this weekend in Norway. The final takes place over two days, with the deciding match on Sunday afternoon. A huge television screen has been erected on Prague´s Wenceslas Square, and celebrations are expected to bring the country to a standstill if the Czechs win.

And just before we go, a quick note to say that Radio Prague´s transmitter at Litomysl will be undergoing routine maintenance on Tuesday May the 18th and will be out of operation from six hours to eleven hours UTC. Unfortunately we won´t be able to bring you our English programmes at seven hours, nine hours and ten thirty hours UTC on Tuesday.

And that´s the end of the news