Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

21-03-2002

NATO's secretary general says Prague summit will be a "defining moment"

NATO Secretary General George Robertson has said the NATO summit in Prague this November will be a "defining moment" which will begin a transformation of the alliance. Mr Robertson made the comments at a press conference after meeting with students at Prague's Charles University; saying the changes would make NATO better suited for the security challenges of the 21st century. The secretary general also emphasised that the transformation would include the participation of Russia, though it is not yet clear just how that country will fit into the overall picture. Mr Robertson is currently in the Czech Republic to examine preparations for the upcoming summit, which will see the leaders of 19 member states meet to discuss alliance expansion, the modernisation of national defence, and the development of new strategies in the fight against terrorism.

Right-wing Freedom Party renews anti-Temelin fervour

Austria's right-wing Freedom Party has renewed criticism of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant, saying it would push for a veto against Czech European Union membership, unless the plant is shut down. In an Austrian parliamentary debate on Thursday Freedom Party member Peter Westenthaler reminded parliament members that it was his party that represented the voice of more than 900, 000 Austrians who signed an anti-Temelin petition in January. His statement drew rebuttals from the opposition Social Democratic Party's Josef Cap, who argued that threatening the Czech Republic with a veto on EU accession would not increase Temelin's safety.

Czech parliament critical of Vaclav Havel in connection with StB case

The Czech parliament has indirectly expressed dissatisfaction with the work of President Vaclav Havel in connection with the legal case of Oldrich Kvapil, the former secret police officer accused of having shot and killed Austrian Stefan Kollman on the Folmova-Dieberg border in 1951. Parliament expressed criticism of Mr Havel's office for substantially slowing down the case, after holding on to related documents for three years. The President's Office has issued a response to parliament defending its procedure in what it calls "a complicated case".

Police official charged with embezzlement

A police official from the east Moravian region of Karvina has been charged with embezzling 170, 000 crowns, which he stole from a police safe. The stolen money was taken from funds paid by citizens for traffic violations. A regular check revealed discrepancies in the safe's contents, leading to the official's arrest. He has since pleaded guilty, and been relieved from duty.

Czech Boeing ready to negotiate over Aero Vodochody

Czech Boeing, a conglomerate of the Boeing company and CSA, the Czech national carrier, is prepared to negotiate the issue of ownership of Aero Vodochody, one of the Czech Air Force's military manufacturers. Czech Boeing has a 35 percent stake in the company. Included in negotiations: the possibility that Czech Boeing may sell part of its stake - this in reaction to recent criticism by some representatives of the Czech government.

Czech crown hits historic record vs. Euro

The Czech crown has hit an historic record vs. the Euro, coming in at 31 crowns 19 hellers to the Euro at noon on Thursday. According to Societe Generale dealer Jan Urich the exchange rate has since stabilised at 31.20. Barring Czech Central Bank intervention, the rate is expected to drop to 31 crowns zero hellers per Euro.

Weather

Thursday evening will see cloudy skies with a chance of rain showers. Night time temperatures will drop to lows between 4 and 0 degrees Celsius.

21-03-2002