Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

15-10-2002

Forty cars in highway pile-up

Poor visibility and slippery roads are believed to have been the cause of a highway pile-up involving about 40 cars on the D1 motorway southeast of Prague on Tuesday morning. Three people were seriously injured in the mass- collision and the police report an unspecified number of light injuries which were treated on the spot. The highway was closed to traffic for several hours as emergency teams worked to clear the debris and haul away the wrecks. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Preparations for NATO summit in full swing

Preparations are underway for the upcoming NATO summit to be held from November 21st to November 22nd in the Czech capital Prague. Interior minister Stanislav Gross told journalists on Tuesday that work was progressing according to schedule. Mr. Gross said he would take full responsibility and resign if the security operation failed in any way. Over 1,000 specially trained officers will be protecting the delegates during their stay in the city . An estimated 12,000 protesters are expected to converge on the Czech capital for the two day summit and at least 12,000 police officers will be out on the streets to deal with street riots . The army will also be helping out with over 2,000 soldiers assigned to patrol-duty at Prague's main international airport, hotels and the conference center where the summit will take place. The authorities have asked Prague inhabitants to restrict their movement around the city over those two days. This is the first NATO summit to be held in a former communist state and as such it presents a major challenge for the local authorities.

Legal expertise on Benes decrees ready for publishing

A legal expertise on the controversial Benes decrees and their compatibility with EU law is reportedly ready for publishing. The European Commission has provided the Czech Foreign Ministry with an advance copy and is said to be awaiting an official statement from Prague before making the twelve page document public. The European Parliament and the Austrian government, who have been involved in the debate surrounding the Benes decrees, will also be informed about its contents in advance. The Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of some two and a half million Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII have created friction between Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, which is soon to join the EU. The EU Commissioner for Expansion Gunter Verheugen told newsmen in Brussels on Tuesday that once the legal expertise was published "there would be no more open questions".

Civic Democrats pushing for direct presidential elections

The Civic Democratic Party says that work on a constitutional amendment that would enable the President to be elected by the people will be ready by the end of this week. The center right Civic Democrats , who were originally against direct presidential elections, are now pushing to get such an amendment approved since they believe it will increase their candidate's chances of winning the elections. Although such an amendment would now receive overwhelming support in Parliament it is not clear whether it could be approved in time for the presidential elections in January.

Transport of hospital staff delayed

Attacks on US military bases in Afghanistan have delayed the transport of Czech hospital staff to the country. Some 70 medical workers who were to fly to Afghanistan on Monday are expected to be flown out later today. The delay was caused by tightened security measures following the weekend attacks on US military bases in northern Afghanistan. The team of doctors and nurses will replace the staff of a Czech field hospital in Kabul, who have been serving as part of the ISAF mission since March.

Weather:

On Wednesday morning fog should give way to partly cloudy skies and day temperatures between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius. Thursday's temperatures have been forecast at between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.

15-10-2002