News Tuesday, FEBRUARY 15th, 2000

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

Zeman continues visit to Portugal

Prime Minister Milos Zeman continues his second day of talks in Portugal. Monday's meeting with Portugese Prime Minister Antonio Guterrez , whose country now holds the EU presidency, focussed largely on EU expansion and possible future set-backs stemming from Austria's new leadership. Both Zeman and Guterrez welcomed Austria's statement on the first day of the intergovernmental EU conference that it would continue to support the union's enlargement. The Czech Prime Minister expressed admiration for the way in which Austria's 14 EU partners had handled the crisis. Mr. Zeman is to meet with Parliament deputies and business leaders in the course of the day.

Rychetsky to meet with Havel on judiciary reform

Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetsky is to meet with President Havel to inform him about the pace of reform in the judiciary. This is one of the areas in which the Czech Republic was found to be lagging behind in meeting EU accession criteria. This briefing precedes President Havel's Wednesday trip to Strasbourg, where he is to address deputies of the European Parliament.

Czechs ask Slovakia to help ease illegal migration problems

The Czech Republic has urged Slovakia to consider introducing a visa-regime with some of its Eastern neighbours. At a meeting with his Slovak counterpart on Monday, Czech Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich pointed out to what extent such an action would help both countries deal with illegal migration and related problems. Securing Slovakia's 90 km border with Ukraine would be much simpler than securing the much longer Czech-Slovak one, Grulich pointed out. Slovakia has agreed to consider this. The Czech Republic recently announced it was imposing visas on Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian nationals and has unveiled plans to impose visas on 6 other former Soviet states.

Sting concert in Prague

Over 14,000 tickets have been sold to Sting's concert at Prague's Vystaviste Hall on Tuesday evening. The British rock star's programme in Prague is being kept under wraps and journalists have been left guessing as to accommodation plans and the size of his entourage. The president's spokesman has refused to say whether President Havel, who is a rock fan, would attend the concert and meet with Sting later. Sting has recently refused to do a planned concert in Vienna as a form of protest over the presence of the far-right Freedom Party in government, so organizers are expecting a last minute influx of Austrian fans in Prague.

Hasek says he play another season

Buffalo Sabres star goaltender Dominik Hasek has announced he has changed his mind about retiring and will play one more season in the National Hockey League. The 35 year old Hasek said a nagging groin injury that caused him to miss 40 games this season was the main reason for his decision to return. Hasek is the highest paid goaltender in the NHL at 9.25 million dollars a year.

And finally a look at the weather:

Tuesday should be a fairly cold day with partly cloudy to overcast skies across the country. We can expect scattered rain showers and snow in the higher altitudes. Day temps between 1 and 5 degs. C. Nighttime lows dropping to 4 degs below O.