News Thursday, SEPTEMBER 16th, 1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik and here's the news. First the headlines.

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


In a tit-for-tat move, the island state of Bahamas -- a member of the Commonwealth -- have imposed a visa requirement on Czech citizens. The Czech Foreign Ministry said without elaborating that visa applications would be processed by the British embassy in Prague.

Bahamas authorities said in London their citizens need visas to visit a number of countries including the Czech Republic, whose nationals until now were not required to produce entry visas.

Britain herself has indicated it considers re-imposing a visa requirement on Czechs because of an influx of Czech Roma asylum seekers. The British embassy in Prague had no comment on Wednesday on the Bahamas decision.

The Bahamas consist of hundreds of small islands scattered in the western Atlantic. This state is often referred to as a tax haven and has provided a sanctuary to the controversial Czech businessman Viktor Kozeny. There are no diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and the Bahamas.


French nationalist leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has accepted an invitation to visit the Czech Republic as a guest of the extremist Republican Party.

Ultra-nationalist Republican leader Miroslav Sladek on Wednesday told correspondents in Brno that the French National Party's leader will visit Prague in mid-October.

The outspoken Sladek said the purpose of Le Pen's visit is to rally all those who pledge allegiance to true patriotic values at the time of economic and political onslaught of multinational monopolies against Europe.

Our correspondent reports that Le Pen's National Front is opposed to the Maastricht treaties and the introduction of the euro as a single European currency. Sladek's Republicans are bitterly opposed to the Czech Republic's bid to join the European Union.


Czech Radio features a unique programme later in the day in which dozens of well-known figures will read the names of some of the 80,000 Czech victims of the Holocaust.

Among the readers in Prague's Pinkas Synagogue there will be President Vaclav Havel, U.S. Ambassador John Shattuck and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whose contributions have been prerecorded.

The live broadcast starts at six p.m. and will take about four hours.


The Board of Supervisors of the troubled Moravia Bank fired the entire management early on Wednesday in an effort to save this institution from the sanctions imposed by the Czech National Bank, which could lead to cancelling Moravia's licence to operate.

A new board was appointed during the same pre-dawn emergency meeting. Moravia is the seventeenth small Czech bank to go under in less than 10 years because of its failed loan policy.


Two Czech Catholic bishops who have turned 75 this week have asked the Vatican to be relieved if their posts.

But the bishops -- Jaroslav Skarvada and Antonin Liska -- said the Holy See does not have to release them instantly and a well-informed insider source has told the CTK news agency that no new bishopric ordinations are planned in the near future.

Monsignor Skarvada, general vicar of the Prague Archdiocese, has recently delegated his powers concerning the care for Catholic expatriates to the newly ordained Bishop of Brno, Petr Esterka.


An international conference on the role of religion, the state and society in the post-Communist Europe has begun in Prague.

The event, co-sponsored by the YMCA, brings together delegates from around the world to discuss topics such as modernisation of church institutions, the role of freedom and democracy in reviving religious life, and overcoming anti-Jewish and ethnic prejudices in theological attitudes.


The number of Czechs facing trouble in Greece because of illegal employment has risen sharply in the past few months. The Czech embassy in Athens said on Wednesday that dozens of Czechs have had to be helped to return home after being expelled by Greek authorities.

The Czech consul, Zuzana Otcenaskova, told the CTK news agency that all illegal migrants face a ban on re-entering not only Greece but other EU countries as well.


Football -- and the Czech Republic has moved up to second place in the latest rankings issued on Wednesday by the sport's governing body FIFA.

Brazil tops the list on 838 points, followed by the Czech Republic which moved to second place on 772 points. France, which has been out of form since winning the World Cup last year, dropped back to third on 766 point.


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

On Thursday, a low pressure area will start moving across the territory, bringing along early morning fogs and temperatures between eight and 12 degrees Celsius.

Daytime highs on Thursday between 24 and 28 degrees, precipitating a colder weather on Friday, which will be a wet day with daytime highs around 23 Celsius.

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