News Thursday, SEPTEMBER 21st, 2000

By Libor Kubik

From Monday September 18th Radio Prague's broadcasts in English on the f101.1 FM frequency in Prague will change. Instead of our current times of 7.15am, 1.15pm and 5.30pm, we will broadcast a fifteen-minute programme at 9.45am, and our half-hour programme will move to the later time of 9.30 in the evening. You will also be able to hear our broadcasts not only in Prague but also on the BBC's FM frequencies in other Czech towns and cities.

IMF defends euro views, says interference not taboo

Here in Prague, the International Monetary Fund, under fire from treading on European toes, has defended its right to talk about foreign exchange rates. It said action to defend Europe's sagging currency should not be taboo.

The IMF's Managing Director Horst Koehler, chairing his first annual meeting and declaring himself a free agent, said rising oil prices increased the risks to the world economy. But the euro currency, trading at record lows, was also a concern.

Mr. Koehler said that the IMF was an open institution willing to learn. He was meeting the international press during the second day of the annual IMF/World Bank meetings in the Czech capital.

The IMF also vowed to speed up debt relief for the world's poorest nations ahead of protests by critics who say it is doing too little to alleviate global poverty.

IMF: Activists plan anti-car protest

Anti-globalisation activists meet in Prague's Old Town Square today for a happening in support of public transport.

The activists, who arrived in Prague to protest against IMF and World Bank policies, are opposed to massive use of private cars and privatisation of public transport.

The organisers have appealed to bankers to use city trams and metro during their annual meeting now in progress. The protests are organised by the Car Busters group and the Czech-based Initiative Against Economic Globalisation, who declared Thursday a day without cars.

House seeks punishment of Communist genocide deniers

The Czech Lower House has passed an amendment to the criminal law under which those who deny Nazi and Communist genocide could be sent to jail for not more than three years.

The amendment, which has yet to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president, envisages stiffer penalties for inciting class hatred and similar forms of violence. The Communists and most of the ruling Social Democrats voted against.

Romania border police detain Czech businessman

A Czech businessman barred from leaving Romania while police investigate the murder of a union boss has been stopped at a border crossing in western Romania.

Mr. Frantisek Priplata was banned from leaving Romania last week while police investigate the slaying of Virgil Sahleanu, a union leader at Tepro pipemaker in the northeastern town of Iasi.

Priplata represents the interests of the Czech metallurgical company Zelezarny Veseli, which acquired a majority stake in Tepro two years ago.

Sahleanu, who called for the contract to be annulled after workers were laid off, was killed two weeks ago.

Czech environmentalists will help clean up the world

Over 40 Czech environmental groups have joined in the global Clean Up The World campaign which starts tomorrow (Friday).

This year's keynote is "Woods are no garbage cans". Over 2,000 children from schools and kindergartens in the northern city of Ostrava will help their parents tidy up their neighbourhoods.

Municipal authorities have been asked to provide garbage containers free of charge.

The campaign was started 13 years ago by Australian Ian Kiernan who sailed the world, saw how polluted the global ocean is, and then organised a major clean-up in his native Sydney.

Olympics: Czech cyclist tests positive for nandrolon

Cycling -- and Czech rider Jan Hruska has tested positive for an unspecified banned substance and may be out of the Olympics.

Hruska, winner of the prologue and a stage in the Giro d'Italia in May, will miss the time trial and road race in Sydney if his second sample is also positive.

Soccer: Kuka returns to Slavia Prague

Football -- and Czech international Pavel Kuka has signed for an immediate transfer from German Bundesliga VfB Stuttgart to Slavia Prague, citing differences of opinion with the trainer and private reasons.

The 32-year-old striker signed on a contract until the end of 2002 with an option for an additional year with the Czech runners-up.

Slavia reportedly paid 120,000 dollars for Kuka.

Czech weather forecast

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

Thursday will be a wet day with daytime highs between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius and nighttime lows below 10 degrees.

On Friday, cold air will begin to pour into Central Europe, bringing along some scattered showers and morning fogs. Daytime highs between 13 and 17 Celsius, dropping to between four and eight degrees at night.

Saturday's daytime highs will be also between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.