News Tuesday, AUGUST 08th, 2000

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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.

CZECH-WEATHER-DAMAGE

North Moravia is coping with the effects of devastating hailstorms and torrential rains which hit the region at the start of the week.

Thousands of windows and hundreds of cars were smashed, and heavy damage was caused to trees and the crops in the fields.

In South Bohemia, the authorities have now called off the flood alert imposed in the wake of the heavy rains which caused the river Malse to spill over. Debris has been cleared from all roads and no further floods are expected.

CZECH-UK-MINING

The Czech oil company Moravske Naftove Doly has abrogated a contract with mostly Scottish-owned Medusa Czech Operation Ltd., citing numerous conflicts with the Czech mining and trade laws.

Under the contract, both firms were supposed to prospect for oil deposits in Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic.

Medusa is majority-owned by the Scottish firm Ramco Oil&Gas. As we reported last week, Moravske's action was criticised by Britain's former Defence Minister and Foreign Secretary, Malcom Rifkind. He complained in a letter to the Czech Embassy in London that Moravske had stopped communicating with Ramco for no apparent reason and that Moravia's oil fields could fall into the hands of an Eastern mafia.

CZECH-AIRFORCE-FLIGHTS

The Czech Air Force is about to lift the flight ban imposed last week in the wake of a jet trainer accident in which a senior officer was killed.

The plane, flown by Flight-Col. Jan Malo, who was in charge of combat readiness training programmes for the whole Czech Air Force, crashed early last week near the East Bohemian town of Chrudim while on a routine flight.

In another development, the condition of the German pilot of a light plane which crashed during an air show in Rakovnik in Western Bohemia, remains very serious. One of the two passengers on board a French-built Jodel piston plane also suffered serious injuries.

CZECH-CHAPEL-CARDINAL

The Czech Roman Catholic Primate, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, has blessed the newly restored Holy Rood Chapel at Karlstejn Castle outside Prague, which was closed for 19 years for a general overhaul.

The Holy Rood Chapel, the most precious original interior of the medieval castle built by the Czech King Charles IV, was designed to keep holy relics and the coronation jewels of the Czech Kingdom. The chapel is decorated with painted scenes from Jerusalem as well as over 100 unique wood panel paintings by Master Theodoricus.

A scaled-down replica of the Holy Rood Chapel is on display in the Czech pavilion at the EXPO 2000 world fair in Hanover, Germany.

CZECH-EU

Signs sent recently by two significant European politicians indicate that the European Commission's report assessing the Czech Republic's EU integration process this year need not be as positive as predicted by Czech leaders.

The Czech weekly Respekt reported on Monday that the annual report, to be published on Tuesday, will show whether or not it will be a flop for the Czech Republic like in the two previous years, when the EC subjected Prague's preparations for EU entry to crushing criticism.

The Czech Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetsky said early last month that in the autumn, his country would be one of the best-rated candidate countries.

CZECH-SUICIDE

For suicides in the Czech Republic, Monday is the most critical day, and May the most critical month. At least according to a report released on Monday by the Czech Institute of Health Information and Statistics.

Last year, over 16 hundred Czechs committed suicide, most often by hanging. Only one suicide in four was committed by a female. The report also said that the suicide rate is on the rise among people with high-school and university education.

CZECH-WEATHER

And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather.

Tuesday will be an essentially wet day here in the Czech Republic, with early morning lows between eight and 12 degrees Celsius and with afternoon highs between 17 and 21 degrees. Temperatures in the mountains will reach only about 12 degrees.

Wednesday and Thursday will bring us more scattered showers the occasional thunderstorm. Early morning lows on both days around ten degrees Celsius, and daytime temperatures on Wednesday will be between 19 and 23 Celsius, and a notch higher on Thursday.

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