News Wednesday, MARCH 01th, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Rob Cameron, and we start the programme with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines.

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

No change in Czech-Austrian relations after Haider resignation

The Czech Republic said on Tuesday that the resignation of Joerg Haider as leader of the far-right Freedom Party was a personal decision that did not affect Prague's move to limit bilateral ties with Vienna. The Czech Republic cut high-level contacts with Austria in protest at the inclusion of Haider's party in the new right-wing coalition. A spokesman for the Czech Foreign Ministry said there were still doubts about Austria's commitment to EU enlargement.

Svoboda released from pre-trial custody

The former Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda has been released from prison, where he was awaiting trial on fraud charges. Mr Svoboda and his former advisor Barbora Snopkova were arrested and placed in custody in November, after being charged with asset-stripping at a pram manufacturers they co-managed in the late 1990s. Mr Svoboda, who was sacked as Finance Minister last July, suffered a nervous breakdown in Prague's Pankrac Prison in December, and spent several days in hospital.

Israel's Chief Rabbi says work must stop on burial site

Israel's Chief Rabbi has ruled that work must stop on an office block being built on the site of a 13th century Jewish burial ground in central Prague. The Czech Republic's Chief Rabbi Karel Sidon said he had received a letter from Israel containing the Chief Rabbi's ruling, which forbade any further work on the site. The burial ground was rediscovered two years ago when the Ceska Pojistovna insurance company began digging foundations for an office block and underground car park. The site, believed to be the oldest Jewish burial ground in the country, was closed in the late 1400s, and its precise location had remained a mystery.

Klaus rejects accusations of political pressure on central bank

The leader of the main opposition Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, has rejected accusations by the governor of the Czech National Bank that he was trying to bring the bank under the control of political parties. Governor Josef Tosovsky, who served as interim Prime Minister after the collapse of Klaus's centre-right coalition in 1997, said in an interview with the influential German newspaper Handelsblatt that Mr Klaus was waging a campaign against both him and the independence of the central bank. A spokesman for the Civic Democrat leader said Mr Klaus would respond to the accusations in an interview with the paper on Wednesday.

Court overrules verdict in police shooting case

A court of appeal has overruled a verdict in a compensation case filed by a man who was shot and seriously injured during a police raid in 1995. A court had previously ordered the Czech Interior Ministry to pay Fehim Hanus, a citizen of the former Yugoslavia, 300,000 crowns in compensation for injuries sustained during the raid. The court of appeal overruled the lower court's verdict that the raid was unjustified.

Two men killed in severe gale

Two men were killed on Monday as they tried to save the roof of their house durgn a storm. The men, a 67-year-old pensioner and his 47-year-old son, died after they were blown off the roof in galeforce winds that hit North Moravia on Monday evening. The two men were airlifted to nearby hospitals, but doctors say they were unable to save them from severe multiple injuries.

'Tolerance Ride' against racism launched in Prague

A mobile campaign against racism was launched on Tuesday, as part of the government's nation-wide anti-racism campaign. In a campaign dubbed the 'Tolerance Ride', a car carrying young people of various ethnic backgrounds will visit 15 towns around the Czech Republic to hold discussions with secondary school pupils about racism and xenophobia. The government has vowed to wage war against racist attitudes in the Czech Republic.


And I´ll end as usual with a quick look at Thursday's weather forecast. And it will be a mostly cloudy day with rain in places. Daytime temperatures will reach a maximum of nine degrees Celsius, falling to zero degrees at night.

I'm Rob Cameron, and that's the end of the news.