News Tuesday, MAY 02th, 2000

r_2100x1400_radio_praha.png

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik, and we start the programme with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

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

CZECH-MAYDAY-PARTIES

Anarchists in Prague have expressed shock and indignation over what they have described as an inadequately harsh police crackdown on their May Day protests against capitalism and globalisation.

A group calling itself the Federation of social anarchists accused the police of extensive human rights violations. The activists said one protester had his head banged against the door of a police van after being detained.

The government's human rights commissioner Petr Uhl and other analysts who were present to the police clampdown have described the officers' behaviour as inadmissible. In contrast, the police and the Interior Minister Stanislav Gross believe the authorities have not overstepped their powers.

Over 50 anarchists have been detained by the police but so far no charges have been brought against any of them.

May Day celebrations in the Czech Republic were largely reduced to left-wing activities. Under heavy police assistance, the Social Democrat Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Trades-Union leader Richard Falbr laid wreaths to a memorial on the site where Labour day was held for the first time in 1890.

At a separate rally, Miroslav Grebenicek, leader of the largely-unreformed Communist Party, criticised President Vaclav Havel and his country's bid to join the European Union. Mr. Grebenicek described the EU as a tool of multinational corporations and called for a civil disobedience campaign.

Elsewhere in this country, anarchists in the north-western town of Most demonstrated for a 30-hour working week which they said was the only way how to curb unemployment.

Not far from Most, residents of the small community of Hora Svate Kateriny marked May Day by re-enacting a communist-era march, complete with young pioneers and communist youth league uniforms, red scarves and stars, and posters praising the virtues of socialism. Loudspeakers blared out fifties' marching songs and everybody had fun.

CZECH-WITCHES-ACCIDENT

Late Sunday's Beltine hilltop summit of witches and sorcerers near the town of Nachod ended in a tragedy when 15 children sustained serious burns from a bonfire which went out of control.

The police said the organisers from the local fire brigade set the pyre alight with the help of a flammable liquid.

Some of the children, aged between six and 10, had to be airlifted to a Prague burns clinic, others were taken to a nearby hospital. On Monday, doctors described the children's condition as stable but they did not say how long the patients will have to spend in hospital.

The local fire chief was not available for comment.

CZECH-RUSSIA-BELARUS-VISAS

The Czech Foreign Ministry has handed notes abrogating the non-visa agreements to official representatives of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Russians and Belarussians will need visas to visit the Czech Republic as from May 29 and Ukrainians as from June 28.

Some Russian and Czech diplomats said earlier that Moscow could introduce visas for Czechs in retaliation to the Czech move.

The agreements were abrogated as the Czech Republic is harmonising its visa policy with the EU's.

CZECH-TAIWAN-AIRCRAFT

It was announced in Taipei on Monday that a plane jointly developed by Czech and Taiwanese engineers will make its first official test flight later this month.

The Aero 270 single engine turboprop was developed by the Czech plane maker Aero and Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation.

Both firms signed a contract three years ago to which each side is to contribute 64 million U.S. dollars, with Aero taking care of sales in Europe and AIDC promoting and handling the sales in Asia.

The plane's designed flight range is about 500 kilometres. Besides the nine-seater, it will also have two-seat, four-seat and six-seat versions.

Aero is 35 percent-owned by Boeing. It is known best for its Albatross range of military jet trainers and for the ALCA light combat subsonic planes which are suited to NATO use.

CZECH-WEATHER

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

After a long and hot weekend, Tuesday will usher a colder weather and some rain and thunderstorms into the Czech Republic. We expect daytime highs between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius, dropping to between five and nine degrees in the night.

Wednesday will be fairly warm day with maximum temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees. Daytime highs on Thursday between 20 and 24 Celsius.

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