News Tuesday, JANUARY 25th, 2000

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Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

Those were the main points, now the news in more detail.

Govt approves return of Jewish property

The Czech government has approved a draft law to enable Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis to be returned to its owners or their descendants. The law must still be approved by both houses of parliament. Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetsky told a news conference late on Monday that the law would apply to land and property confiscated from individuals, and up to 200 lots of real estate previously owned by Jewish organisations. The property includes buildings and artwork seized by the Nazi government which occupied the Czech lands between 1939 and 1945. Mr Rychetsky said the Czech government has set aside almost 9 million US dollars for a fund to compensate owners whose property cannot be returned because it no longer exists or is no longer owned by the state. He added that claims have largely been settled by other post-Communist restitution laws.

Kavan discusses arms trade with Egypt

Czech and Egyptian officials say they want to increase bilateral trade between the Czech republic and Egypt. During his visit to Cairo on Monday, the Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan met the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, defence minister Mohammed Hussein Tantavi and other high-ranking representatives. One of the main points of their talks was the possible purchase by the Egyptian Army of the Czech-made L-159 fighter jets and Tatra trucks.

Israeli foreign minister visits Czech Rep.

The Israeli Foreign Minister, David Levy, starts an official visit to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Levy is the first Israeli foreign minister to visit the Czech Republic since it became independent in 1993. Levy is to meet top Czech representatives, including President Vaclav Havel, Prime Minister Milos Zeman, and lower house speaker Vaclav Klaus. Talks are expected to focus on the Middle East peace process, Czech-Jewish relations and the return of Jewish property confiscated during the Holocaust.

Government approves draft law on waste

The Czech government has approved a draft law on waste prepared by the Environment Ministry. The bill complies to the conditions of the Basle convention on cross-border movement of dangerous waste and its disposal. The Czech Republic is a signatory of the Basle convention which for example bans transporting dangerous waste to countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

People in need foundation helps Chechen village

The People in Need foundation, which is affiliated to Czech Television, has succesfully delivered another convoy with humanitarian aid to Chenchya. The destination of the three truckloads of flour, sugar and dried food was the Chechen village of Alchan-Jurt, some 15 kilometres from the Chechen capital Grozny. The People in Need foundation is the first humanitarian organisation to transport humanitarian aid to war-torn Chechnya. A representative of the foundation described the situation as horrifying and worse than in Kosovo.

Lower house to discuss chages in constitution, new law on media

The lower house of the Czech parliament continues its session on Tuesday. It is to discuss constitutional changes proposed by the two strongest political parties. Other items on its agenda include the division of former federl property and a new law on radio and television broadcasting. The new piece of legislation is designed to harmonise this area with EU standards.

Nine percent of Czechs admit taking drugs - poll

Nine percent of Czech citizens admit to taking drugs, a recent survey conducted by the Institute for Public Opinion Research claimed. The poll also showed that every fourth person under 19 has taken drugs. The most popular drug in the Czech Republic is marijuana.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. An occluded front is moving eastward across Germany and Poland, influencing the weather in Central Europe. We are expecting a partially cloudy to cloudy day with snow showers. Nighttime lows will drop to 11 to 15 degrees Celsius below zero, highest daytime temperatures should range from 8 to 4 degrees Celsius below zero. Wednesday and Thursday should be cloudy to overcast with snow showers, afternoon highs will stay slightly below zero.

And that's the end of the news.