News Thursday, AUGUST 31st, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik, and we start the program with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

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

Police say U.S. radicals train Czechs for IMF session

The Czech police say they have information that radical elements from the United States and Western Europe are training Czech anti-globalisation protesters ahead of the annual IMF/World Bank session, to meet in Prague late next month.

In an interview for the CTK news agency, the spokesman of the radical socio- environmental movement Rainbow Keepers, Mr. Slavomir Tesarek, has estimated the number of such instructors at 15 at the most. He denied, however, that they are in this country to encourage paramilitary activities.

The latest estimates speak of up to 50,000 anti-globalisation protesters planning to converge upon the Czech capital in time for the IMF session.

Havel tells diplomats not to hide Czech political shortcomings

Czech President Vaclav Havel has told his country's diplomats not to attempt to hide shortcomings of the national political scene.

Meeting the heads of over 100 Czech diplomatic missions abroad, Mr. Havel said in Prague that they should attempt to gain more prestige for their country by critically analysing political developments at home.

He said he personally was not too particularly satisfied with the current level of his country's political culture. But he said the worst thing a diplomat could do was pretend that the situation is better than it actually is.

Foreign minister on EU annual report

The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, says this year's European Commission report on the candidate states' level of preparedness for EU membership will be more positive for his country. But he warned the Czech Republic shouldn't succumb to unnecessary self-complacency.

Speaking to reporters in Prague, Mr. Kavan said Prague had no right to act like it was top of its class. The allusion was to the statements by some of the previous conservative Czech governments.

Mr. Kavan said that since last year's report, which was highly critical of the Czech Republic, the country had received good international ratings as an EU membership hopeful.

Czech aid reaches Macedonia refugees

Two truckloads of Czech relief aid for refugees have reached the Macedonian capital Skopje, bringing 40 tons of evaporated milk to Kosovo refugees stationed in Macedonia, most notably ethnic Roma refugees in the Vardar and Sutka ghettoes near the city.

The aid, delivered by the Czech Catholic Charity, comes from government food reserves.

The organisation's spokeswoman Marta Fiserova told the Czech news agency CTK that one year after the war in Kosovo, thousands of refugees were still stranded in Macedonia. Most of them were Kosovo Romanies who lived in inhumane conditions.

E Hepatitis runaways sought by police

The Czech police have released the descriptions of two men, infected with deadly hepatitis E, who have escaped from a refugee camp in Cerveny Ujezd near the North Bohemian town of Teplice.

The two were identified as 18-year-old Vladimir Bivol from Moldova and 34-year- old Ramazam Bayrak from Turkey. The details were released five days after police in Teplice informed the Czech news agency CTK about the escape of three foreign nationals carrying the virus. Since then, one of them has been tracked down.

Police spokeswoman Ivana Zelenakova says the two men may not be aware of their condition since they escaped even before the outcomes of laboratory tests were known. Zelenakova warned that both men could suffer serious health damage without proper treatment, and could spread the infection further.

Semtex peddlar caught in Moravia

Police in the North Moravian town of Olomouc say they have caught a man in the act of selling two kilograms of Semtex on a suburban parking lot.

The asking price of the deadly explosive was two thousand German marks. The police said the arrested man had been found to be in possession of four industrial electric fuses and cables. According to Olomouc police, a similar haul, capable of blowing up ten airliners, was last seized in the early 1990s.

Soccer: Czech captain named for duel with Bulgaria

Football -- and Lazio midfielder Pavel Nedved has been appointed Czech captain and will lead the team in their World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria on Saturday.

Nedved, capped 46 times by his country, replaces Jiri Nemec, who retired after the European championship finals.

Cologne midfielder Miroslav Baranek has dropped out from the squad for Saturday's group three match in Sofia with an ankle injury. He will not be replaced.

Czech weather forecast

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

Thursday's early morning lows between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius will usher in a fair late-summer day with afternoon highs between 19 and 23 degrees.

On Friday, a low pressure area will start influencing the weather in Central Europe. Friday morning will be wet, with scattered mists and temperatures between eight and 12 degrees, warming up by afternoon to between 18 and 22 Celsius

Saturday's afternoon highs will be between 16 and 20 degrees, dropping to around 10 degrees at night.

I'm Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.