News Thursday, SEPTEMBER 07th, 2000

Havel in NYC for UN Millennium Summit

The chief of the American FBI, Louis Freeh, has said Prague's preparedness for the annual IMF/World Bank session later this month are excellent.

Mr. Freeh was speaking in New York after a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Havel, who is attending a United Nations millennium summit of more than 150 heads of state in New York at the start of the Millennium Summit Conference of the United Nations.

The meeting, which started on Wednesday, has been widely described as the largest gathering of heads of state and government in world history.

The summit aims to clarify the UN's goals in reducing poverty, disease, war and environmental destruction in the twenty-first century.

Austria activists plan blockade over Temelin

The Austrian anti-nuclear activist Ulrike Puehringer says Friday's planned blockade of border crossings into the Czech Republic over the Czech nuclear power plant at Temelin may not be the last one and that everything depends on the reactions of Czech officials.

The Austrian parliament wants the Vienna government to hold up EU "energy chapter" membership negotiations with Prague over the Czech nuclear plant at Temelin.

However, the chief Czech EU entry negotiator Pavel Telicka says he doesn't expect the Austrian parliament's resolution to seriously endanger his country's admission.

An all-party resolution said that Austria should block a conclusion of this chapter until Prague showed that Temelin was up to EU environment and safety standards.

Relations between the Czech Republic and Austria are strained over Temelin, which is 60 kilometres from the northern Austrian border and will go operational this month.

Czech, German police in joint anti-trafficking operation

Police officers from the Czech Republic and Germany have carried out a 30-hour cross-border operation, codenamed "Boris", to stem the movement of illegal migrants.

A police spokeswoman in the Czech town of Liberec said the officers had checked the identities of almost 4,000 persons and detained at least 14 people. She said that in similar operations before, the two police forces had always stayed in their own territories.

On the Czech side of the border, three persons were charged with people-smuggling and five others are under police investigation.

Govt. mulls budget deficit

The Czech cabinet has taken into account a second draft bill on the country's state budget. Revenues are estimated to be nearly 25 billion crowns higher than anticipated, expenditure will grow by nearly 28 billion crowns.

Government spokesman Libor Roucek says the overall deficit will be three billion crowns higher than the limit set under a contract between the ruling Social Democrats and the main opposition Civic Democratic Party.

CSA acquires ninth regional turboprop

Czech Airlines has acquired its ninth ATR regional turboprop. The new plane was named "The Sky Rider" in recognition of the achievements of Czech and Slovak air pilots fighting in World War Two in the ranks of the British Royal Air Force.

CSA, the national flag carrier, is using its ATR planes in domestic routes and short- range international flights. In addition to the ATR, Czech Airlines is currently operating a fleet of 17 Boeing 737s and two wide-bodied Airbus A310s. The average age of the CSA fleet is 5.5 years.

CSA is 90 percent state-owned. Next year, it will be incorporated in the global Sky Team alliance led by Air France and Delta Airlines.

Olympics: Emil Zatopek in hospital

The legendary fifties' Czech Olympic champion Emil Zatopek has been taken to hospital with pneumonia.

The CTK news agency, quoting officials at a Prague hospital, said on Wednesday that the 77-year-old former long-distance runner had a fever and was exceptionally tired. Hospital officials would not comment further.

Zatopek, winner of four Olympic gold medals as well as one silver, was admitted to hospital earlier this year after breaking a hip.

Zatopek's finest achievements came at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics when he won the 5,000 and 10,000 metres plus the marathon in the space of eight days, each in Olympic record time.

Heart transplant Czech handles triathlon

Forty-year-old Czech Ales Tvrdy from Kladno has probably become the first heart transplant patient in the world to successfully cope with the gruelling conditions of triathlon.

At an athletics meet in Chomutov last weekend, the man, who had a heart transplant six years ago, has swam 1,000 metres, cycled 40 kilometres and ran the distance of 10 kilometres -- all in three hours 13 minutes.

The meet's organisers say the man received a woman's heart six years ago.

Czech weather forecast

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

After a rainy start to the day, Thursday will be quite cold, with daytime highs not exceeding 18 degrees Celsius. Scattered rains and thunderstorms should give way to clearer skies by late afternoon. At night, the temperatures will drop to between five and nine Celsius.

On Friday, we expect early morning lows between five and seven degrees and daytime maxima from 17 to 21 degrees. Saturday should be a bit warmer, with daytime highs of up to 23 degrees Celsius.