News Thursday, JUNE 29th, 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.
The controversial Czech nuclear power station at Temelin near the Austrian border is nearing completion and its operator, the utilities company CEZ, expects to receive the go ahead to start stoking nuclear fuel within two weeks' time.
The Austrian minister of the environment has asked his Czech colleague Milos Kuzvart to try and delay the plant's testing. However, Mr. Kuzvart has turned down the Austrian request, although he said on Wednesday that his country did not need Temelin and would welcome yet another vote in the government on whether or not the plant should be launched.
Temelin is opposed by environmental activists in both countries but a recent public opinion poll showed that more than two thirds of Czechs are in favour of launching the nuclear plant.
Six expatriate Czechs from several continents have received prestigious awards for promoting their ancestral country's international image.
The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has awarded the Gratias Agit prizes also to expatriate organisations including the Czech Educational Foundation of Texas and the Sokol Physical Training Chapter of Sydney, Australia.
The Gratias Agit prizes have been awarded to distinguished Czech expatriates since 1997. The tradition was started by the then foreign minister, Mr. Josef Zieleniec.
European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler is convinced that even if formal approval of the agreement on the liberalisation of agrotrade between the EU and the Czech Republic by all EU members is not reached, the agreement can take effect on July 1 as planned.
Fischler said on Wednesday in an interview to the Czech news agency CTK that the commission was trying to make all necessary decisions as fast as possible but even if there was a delay there was no reason why the agreements between the EU and the nine candidate countries should not take effect on July 1.
In the agreements, the Czech Republic and the other candidates except Poland pledge to lift all import duties on selected agricultural imports from the EU and impose quotas instead which will be gradually increased. The EU, on the other hand, pledged not to subsidise these products.
As of Wednesday, Ukrainians have to produce entry visas when entering the Czech Republic. Prague has abandoned its visa-waiver policy on the former Soviet republic in an effort to stem the flow of illegal labourers from Ukraine and to cut the growing crime rate. The Czech interior ministry says many people from the former Soviet Union are involved in criminal activities.
Our correspondent says illegal workers from Ukraine are employed mainly in the Czech building trade and their number may exceed 100,000.
The Czech Republic has by now re-imposed the visa requirement on most countries of the former USSR.
Business in the lower house of the Czech Parliament was brought to a standstill for about 30 minutes on Wednesday after a reckless MP accidentally poured a bottle of lemonade into his electronic voting equipment.
Our parliamentary correspondent reports that the accident frustrated a debate on an amendment to the law concerning stocks and shares.
The deputy speaker, Civic Democrat Ivan Langer, declined to name the offender but said all members of parliament should exercise restraint when drinking -- albeit soft drinks.
Our correspondent identified the reckless MP as the Civic Democrat Tomas Teplik. Mr. Teplik reportedly said his bottle had been pushed by a rival Social Democrat member of parliament. But eyewitnesses said Teplik's fellow-partisan Milan Cabrnoch also had a hand in the incident.
Prague's Mayor Jan Kasl has met with three American high-school students from Phoenix, Arizona who are going to spend the next three weeks in Czech families to get an insight into the Czech way of life and the cultural values of this nation.
The three students are taking part in the 'Young Ambassadors' exchange scheme whose idea is to let young people informally to represent their home towns.
Mayor Kasl said that Prague and Phoenix had signed a treaty of friendship in 1990.
Cricket -- and the Czech Cricket Association has been admitted into the International Cricket Council. This happened at the ICC's annual session in London.
The Czech association becomes the ICC's sixthy-third member.
And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather.
The influx of cold air into Central Europe should stop on Thursday when the skies above the Czech Republic should be partly overcast but daytime highs should reach between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius. Some rain is expected.
On Friday, a low pressure area will start influencing the Czech Republic. We expect a cloudy day with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Early morning lows between six and 10 Celsius, daytime highs between 18 and 22 degrees.
Nighttime lows on Saturday between eight and 12 degrees, Saturday's afternoon highs up to 24 Celsius.
I'm Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.