News Sunday, SEPTEMBER 17th, 2000

Hello, welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Rob Cameron bringing you a brief news bulletin. The headlines this evening:

Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail.

Austrian Temelin opponents again block border, but Zeman refuses to talk

Austrian environmentalists blocked all border crossings on the Czech-Austrian border on Friday, to protest against the planned launch of the Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia. Friday's blockade was the third in a series of blockades initiated by Austrian protestors earlier this month. All twelve crossing points between the two countries were blocked for several hours. More blockades are planned by German anti-nuclear activists on Sunday. Meanwhile the Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, has refused to hold talks with the Austrian protestors.

Motejl defeated again - judicial reform rejected

Justice Minister Otakar Motejl has suffered a further defeat in his plans to reform the Czech judicial system. The lower house of parliament rejected his latest proposals for reform of the court system. The defeat follows the rejection in May of plans to reform the criminal code and the Constitution. Mr Motejl, the only non-affiliated minister in the minority Social Democrat government, threatened to resign in May after the bills were defeated in parliament.

Anti-IMF protestors finally allowed across border

A group of foreign protesters heading for the upcoming International Monetary Fund and World Bank session in Prague have been let into the country, after being turned away at the Czech-German border earlier this week. Police had refused to let them entry Czech territory claiming their vehicle lacked an international identification sticker. The Interior Ministry has admitted that stricter measures against foreigners have been put in place at all Czech border crossings in anticipation of the annual IMF meeting which begins on September 26th. According to police estimates up to 20,000 protestors will arrive in Prague for the meeting.

Lorry drivers call off protests

Czech lorry drivers called off their planned protests against rising fuel prices on Friday, after Prime Minister Milos Zeman agreed to meet them for talks. The drivers, who are demanding an upper fuel price limit of 26 crowns per litre, had planned to block several major roads around the country. The country's largest transport union, Cesmad Bohemia, had distanced itself from the protests. Mr Zeman and the Transport Minister, Jaromir Schling, have both said that the government is unlikely to consider lowering the tax burden on fuel.

Zeman welcomes new G.D.P. figures

Prime Minister Zeman has said he is 'cautiously satisfied' with new figures released by the Czech Statistics Office, which show Czech G.D.P. growing by just under 2 percent in the second quarter of this year. Mr Zeman said that the figures were due primarily to a rapid growth in investment. He added, however, that the Czech economy was still at risk from problems his government was powerless to influence, naming the value of the euro against the dollar and the price of oil and natural gas. The leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, told reporters that not even the opposition could derive satisfaction from such a slow rate of economic growth.

Most loses war against pigeons

Officials in the northern town of Most say they've rejected a proposal to use birds of prey to eradicate the local pigeon population. The mayor of Most said the plan was too expensive and unlikely to work. He told reporters the town had already spent 150,000 crowns fitting spikes on the roof of the town's arts centre, which the pigeons continued to occupy despite the obvious discomfort. He said Most was now abandoning attempts to rid itself of the town's pigeons.


And finally a look at the weather - Saturday will be a mostly cloudy day with temperatures reaching 23 degrees Celsius. Sunday will be cooler with rain in places.

I'm Rob Cameron, and that's the news.