News Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 05th, 2000

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.

East Europe relieved over EU referendum

Eastern European candidates for EU enlargement have hailed Germany's foreign minister for shooting down the idea of a German referendum before the 15-nation bloc allowed new members to join.

But Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's quick rebuke of a trial balloon floated by the EU enlargement commissioner and fellow-German Guenter Verheugen did not allay fears that the process of enlargement may become slower and more complicated.

The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has said it seems to him that this idea lacks an internal logic from many different points of view. He was speaking after Mr. Verheugen was quoted as saying that Germans should vote before new members are admitted to the Union.

The Czech Republic, together with Hungary and Poland, are considered frontrunners for EU expansion.

Havel in New York for UN Millennium Summit

President Havel has arrived in New York at the start of his week-long working visit to the United States. He is to attend a millennium summit of the United Nations, which starts on Wednesday.

Later in the day, Mr. Havel will receive an honorary doctorate of law at Michigan University in Ann Arbor not far from Detroit.

Opposition leader rejects politicising nuclear power

The opposition leader Vaclav Klaus has rejected political misuse of the popular distrust in nuclear power engineering.

Mr. Klaus, leader of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party, has said he strongly resents Austrian politicians' rejection of putting on line the Temelin nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia, close to the Austrian border.

The Czech President Vaclav Havel said on Monday that Czechs should understand Austria's fear of Temelin.

But Mr. Klaus said Austria itself had become an ostracised country when the populist Freedom Party of Joerg Haider formed a government with the mainstream People's Party.

Austria has lately stepped up pressure on the Czech authorities not to make Temelin operational. Last week, the Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said his country would not agree with the closing of the power industry chapter of the Czech Republic's EU accession talks unless the Temelin plant adopted European safety and environmental standards.

Sudeten Germans call Chancellor's remark a squandered chance

Sudeten German chief Bernd Posselt has described Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's speech on Sunday, in which he distanced himself from the demands of the post-war expellees, as a squandered chance for his people.

After the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia under a series of decrees signed by the then president Edvard Benes.

Chancellor Schroeder had said in Berlin that Germany was not going to press any property claims against Prague, and that Germany had no territorial claims either.

Mr. Posselt said that the German chancellor hadn't put forward a single European- oriented formula in his speech but had defended the current status quo.

School year begins in the Czech Republic

One and a half million Czech schoolchildren returned to their classrooms after two months of summer holidays.

The Education Minister Eduard Zeman said on Monday that within a foreseeable future all kids should get a chance to work with the internet. He said internet classes were his priority this year.

In another development, Minister Zeman reaffirmed his tough stance against the existence of eight-year grammar schools. In spite of the qualified assurances to the contrary, he believes that extended academic-education schools should be closed because they are elitist and discriminatory.

Czech weather forecast

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

On Tuesday, cold south western air will continue to pour into Central Europe, bringing along cloudy skies and scattered showers. Early morning lows will not exceed six to 10 degrees Celsius, afternoon highs will be between 14 and 18 degrees, dropping to between four and eight Celsius at night.

On Wednesday, the skies will be partly cloudy, there will be scattered showers, some morning mists and maximum daytime temperatures between 15 and 19 Celsius, cooling to around 10 degrees at night.

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