Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

28-05-2001

Reformist Svoboda elected as new leader of Christian Democrats

Cyril Svoboda has been elected as the new chairman of the opposition Christian Democrats, at the party's national conference this weekend. Mr Svoboda replaces Jan Kasal, who is now deputy chairman. Speaking to some 300 delegates before his election, Mr Svoboda said the party needed to focus on the rule of law, a free market economy with strong social support, and education. Meanwhile Mr Kasal apologised for the slow development that the party had witnessed recently and said that the Christian Democrats needed to put all their strength into re-gaining the trust of the Czech people. The Christian Democrats have been bitterly divided in recent months, and Mr Svoboda's election is seen as a victory for the reform-minded wing of the party.

Far-right National Social Block files charges against Jewish community

The far-right National Social Block, or NSB, has filed criminal charges against the Prague Jewish Community. The NSB's chairman, Jan Kopal, said the charges were in reaction to a recent public declaration by the Jewish community calling for a nationwide fight against neo-Nazis. Mr Kopal claimed the call was alarmist and added fuel to the fire of racial intolerance. The NSB also plans to file charges against Interior Ministry employees on the grounds that they allegedly misused their power to limit the activities of the party. The National Social Block is a new political party, formed from a number of far-right groups. It claims to have some 3,000 members, and is supported mainly by neo-Nazi skinheads.

Austrian anti-nuclear activists begin new border blockade

Some 200 Austrian anti-nuclear activists begun a blockade of the biggest Czech-Austrian border crossing, Wullowitz-Dolni Dvoriste, on Sunday afternoon. The blockade was in protest at a Czech government report submitted to Austria on safety at the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. Environmentalists say the report is useless, claiming that the material used to compile it is outdated.

Police seize 100,000 ecstasy pills on Czech border

The Czech border police have seized close to 100,000 ecstasy pills headed for Canada. Police say the 25 kg haul is believed to have been the largest anyone has ever attempted to smuggle out of the Czech Republic. The pills had an estimated street value of some 624,000 US dollars in the Czech Republic, whilst in Canada they would have been sold for more than three times that amount.

Catholics mark Media Day

Sunday saw Catholics around the world praying for all those working in the communications and information sector. Media Day was declared by the Vatican 35 years ago. In the Czech Republic, bishops say the day is especially important, explaining that the 40 years of Communist rule experienced by the Czech people have still left their mark on the country, making the freedom of the press ever more important. Czech bishops also took the opportunity to praise the existence of religious broadcasting in public radio and television as well as the Christian radio station Proglas, internet sites, and the publication of Christian books and magazines.

Mezi Ploty festival promotes awareness of mental illness

Many of the Czech Republic's finest music and theatre ensembles took part in the Mezi Ploty, or Between Fences, cultural festival, which took place this week-end at Prague's Bohnice psychiatric hospital. Mezi Ploty is open to the public, with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of mental illness, alcoholism and drug addiction. The festival is organised every year and has always been very popular.

Sport

Roman Sebrle made history on Sunday when he became the first man to break the 9,000 points barrier in the decathlon. In Goetzis, Austria, the 26 year old Olympic silver medallist compiled 9,026 points to better the previous record of 8,994 set by his compatriot Tomas Dvorak on July 4, 1999.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weather. Monday shall see partially cloudy skies with occasional showers. Daytime temperatures will range between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius. Monday night will also be partially cloudy with temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius. Tuesday is expected to have clearer skies with temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.

28-05-2001