You are listening to Radio Prague, the international service of Czech Radio. I'm Vladimir Tax and as usual, we begin with a brief newsbulletin. First the headlines.
These are the main points and now the news in more detail.
The Chamber of Deputies is to vote on Czech NATO membership today. The Lower House is expected to approve the Czech Republic's accession to NATO by a vast majority, since out of its two hundred members, only 22 Communists and 18 Republicans are against it.
In the Senate, the former ruling coalition has a two-thirds majority and all three parties have declared their unconditional support for NATO membership.
According to the latest opinion polls, around 55 percent of Czechs support their country's membership in NATO, and approval figures have been rising steadily.
The government and the interior ministry are prepared to introduce entry visas for citizens of some Balkan states in order to stop the influx of illegal immigrants which could pose a problem on the Czech Republic's way to the European Union, Czech deputy interior minister Vojtech Sedlacek told CTK on Sunday. He was reacting to Austrian interior minister Karl Schloegel, who urged the Czech Republic and Hungary to introduce entry visas for Romanian citizens. Schloegel said that EU enlargement will be viewed not only from the economic but also from the security point of view, and that if Austria's security was threatened, the country would strongly oppose enlargement. According to the Austrian press agency APA, 14 thousand illegal immigrants were arrested in Austria last year. Most of them came from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
An earthquake shook the ground all over the Czech Republic on Sunday. At its epicentre near the border between Slovenia and Austria, it measured about 5.5 on the Richter scale.
According to Jan Zednik from the Czech Geophysical Institute, the quake was relatively strong for Europe. Besides Slovenia, which was the only country to suffer damage, the tremor was also felt in Italy, Austria, Southern Germany and Hungary.
Czech premier Josef Tosovsky and finance minister Ivan Pilip are representing the Czech Republic at the regular Spring session of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington D.C. Besides taking part in the IMF session, Premier Tosovsky will also meet with U.S. foreign secretary Madeleine Albright.
The IMF estimates that the Czech Republic will see some economic growth this year, but warns that the country must continue with careful restrictive macroeconomic policy and privatisation.
On Monday, a consortium of Boeing and Czech airlines accepted the Czech government's conditions for the sale of a 34 percent stake in Czech aircraft maker Aero Vodochody which manufactures multi- role subsonic jet fighters.
The cabinet conditioned the deal by a commitment that Boeing will remain a strategic partner until at least 2008 and will increase Aero's base capital by 28 million USD.
Sparta Prague moved 13 points clear of rival Slavia Prague after Slavia suffered a shock 3-1 defeat by mid-table Teplice.
Sparta comfortably dismissed Petra Drnovice 4-0 and with just seven games remaining, the title race is effectively over.
But the battle for a UEFA Cup spot is still open and two of the hopefuls, Sigma Olomouc and Banik Ostrava, met at the weekend.
The game ended in a goalless draw, leaving third-placed Olomouc a point clear of Ostrava but still four points behind second-place Slavia.
And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a partially cloudy day with occasional showers, especially in the South of the country. Afternoon highs should range from 7 to 11 degrees Celsius.
And that's the end of the news.
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