Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Ray Furlong and we begin with the news.
Those are the headlines - now the news in more detail.
The prime ministers of thirteen Central European Initiative member states are attending a summit in Prague, with the three remaining countries represented by other top officials. The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, said the summit would be an opportunity for the organisation to asses its activities over the last year. He said attention would also be paid to regional security issues - particularly Kosovo. The Central European Initiative, or CEI, is made up of post-communist countries in central Europe and the Balkans, excluding Yugoslavia. It also includes Italy and Austria. Minister Kavan said one of the most important issues of the CEI meeting would be the role the group can play in implementing the Stability Pact for the Balkans.
The Prime Minister, Social Democrat leader Milo Zeman, has accepted a call made by the main opposition ODS party to take part in multi-party talks on forming a new government composed of all non-communist parties. The meeting will take place next week, but few expect any change to emerge from it. Social Democrat deputy leader Petra Buzková was quoted by the CTK news agency as being skeptical as to the outcome of the talks, and Milo Zeman has already rejected the idea of the so-called Super Coalition. Two smaller opposition parties, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union, will also attend the talks - but they too have opposed the idea of such a broad coalition government.
Sport now - and Czech football teams have learnt their opponents in the European competitions. Sparta Prague can look forward to Barcelona, Porto, and Hertha Berlin in their second round Champions League group. They begin their campaign with a home fixture against Porto. Slavia Prague will face Romania´s Steau Bucharest in the third round of the UEFA cup.
And finally - the town authorities in Cheb, not far from the German border, have come up with a new method of fighting the prostitution which is so prevalent throughout northern Bohemia. From the New Year, customers can be fined just for seeking out paid sex. Up till now, north Bohemian towns have only tried to fine prostitutes - with very little success. A local official in Cheb told the CTK news agency the new measure would rid the town of prostitution, which was endangering public order.
Before I go, just a quick look at the weekend weather: expect cloudy skies and occasional showers all over the Czech Republic, with temperatures between six and twelve degrees Celsius. And that´s the news.
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