Daily news summary News Friday, JANUARY 15th, 1999

15-01-1999

Welcome to Radio Prague. Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.

CZECH-COMMUNIST-NATO

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia said on Thursday it had given up trying to prevent this country from entering NATO. But it said the Communists were not going to reconcile themselves to Czech membership and the effects ensuing.

Chief Communist Miroslav Grebenicek told correspondents that his party was realistic enough to assume that opposition against their country's membership of NATO was futile as its admission was a foregone conclusion. But he vowed his party would modify its approaches accordingly.

CZECH-TENNIS-KORDA

The cream of men's tennis will meet on Saturday to discuss Petr Korda's positive steroid test, with sentiment apparently split over whether their Czech colleague should be expelled from their ranks.

Most of the Australian Open's leading players will put aside their Grand Slam preparations to attend the mandatory meeting of the ATP Tour players council and discuss the Korda controversy.

Meanwhile, Petr Korda , an Australian Open champion, turned to heaven to celebrate his first win in months on Thursday after beating Goran Ivanisevic 7-6 6-2 at a warm-up event for the year's first Grand Slam tournament.

PARLIAMENT-SCREENING-COMMUNIST

The lower house of the Czech parliament on Thursday defeated a Communist-tabled motion to abrogate the law on the mandatory screening of state employees to ascertain that they did not collaborate with the Communist secret police before the collapse of the totalitarian regime in 1989.

The screening law came into effect in November 1991 for a period of five years. Its validity was subsequently extended to the end of the year 2000.

Communist MPs have argued that this legislation contravenes the principles of a law-abiding state and is a violation of the Czech Rights and Liberties Charter.

The Social Democrat government of Prime Minister Milos Zeman remains opposed to cancelling the screening law, although it admits that it may presume collective guilt.

CZECH-POLISH-PLANES

A delegation of Polish defence officials tested prototypes of upgraded Czech light attack jets and discussed future cooperation on their development during a visit to Prague on Thursday.

Aero Vodochody President Scott White said that the delegation, which included Poland's First Deputy Defence Minister Romuald Szeremietiew and Air Force Commander, General Kazimierz Dziok, reviewed Aero Vodochody's L-159 light attack jet and its L-139 trainer version.

CZECH-TELECOM-MINISTER

Czech Transport and Communications Minister Antonin Peltram demands the resignation of Dutch firm TelSource's executive manager Bessel Kok from the board of directors of the Czech firm SPT Telecom, which has recently found herself in the centre of an alleged bribery scandal.

But SPT Telecom's former chairman of the board Lubos Rezabek said on Thursday Peltram's demand was in breach of valid contracts.

There have been allegations that the Dutch firm paid massive bribers to Czech state officials in return of receiving shares of Telecom when it was privatised three years ago.

CZECH-AUTO-SKODA

Czech auto maker Skoda, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, said on Thursday that it achieved an 8.1 percent rise in sales last year, but that sales were still far behind its own target.

Skoda said worldwide sales had reached a little over 365,000 cars - - well below its aim of 410,000 cars.

The company suffered a severe slump on the home market, with sales of just under 82,000 cars plunging 19 percent from 1997 figures.

Sales in neighbouring Germany meanwhile surged 49 percent to almost 45,000 cars sold.

Skoda said that demand for its Felicia model had fallen 10 percent. But the medium-sized Octavia's sales surged almost 114 percent.

Korda savoured his victory in the hot, windy conditions over a stiff Ivanisevic at the Colonial Classic exhibition tournament in the Melbourne suburb of Kooyong.

CZECH-GERMAN-SOCCER

Football -- and Czech international Martin Cizek is to join German side Munich 1860 from Czech champions Sparta Prague for an undisclosed fee.

The CTK news agency reports that the 24-year-old midfielder, who has played for the Czech national tram 15 times, will undergo medical tests today.

CZECH-WEATHER

And finally, a look at the weather. Friday will be a wet and cloudy day in the Czech Republic, with some scattered rain and snow showers in the mountains. We expect daytime highs between one and five degrees Celsius.

At the weekend, more frontal systems will advance from the west across Czech territory. Expect cloudy weather with local showers and some snowfalls in the mountains, especially on Sunday. Nighttime lows on Saturday between minus one and plus three Celsius, and on Sunday, between one and five above freezing. Daytime temperatures around six above zero on both days.

I am Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.

15-01-1999