Daily news summary News Friday, JULY 02th, 1999

02-07-1999

Radio Prague E-News Written/read by: Libor Kubik Date: 2 July 1999, 0900 UTC

Hello and welcome to the programme. I’m Libor Kubik, first a look at the news headlines.

CZECH-GOVT-OPPOSITION

Two Czech opposition parties have called on the Social Democrat government of Prime Minister Milos Zeman to step down.

The Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats said in a draft resolution in parliament that the cabinet was unfit to rule.

The move came after Premier Zeman delivered an hour-long speech in the lower house in which he summed up his team’s performance in the first year in office.

CZECH-PARLIAMENT-SCENES

Earlier on Thursday, Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich found himself under a barrage of criticism in the lower house when numerous opposition members of parliament accused the Social Democrat of obstructing the work of the national office for the documentation and investigation of the crimes of communism.

The opposition blames Grulich for ordering a series of inspections with the aim of hampering the investigation procedures.

Grulich defended himself by saying the measures he had taken significantly improved the performance of this agency. But deputy speaker of the house Ivan Langer described Grulich as a person unfit to serve as cabinet minister.

Our correspondent says the atmosphere in the house was very emotional and both parties to the dispute used explicit language.

CZECH-POLICE-BLAST

Police in Northern Moravia say they are holding a man who probably caused explosions in Ostrava and Prague last year.

Ostrava Police Director Radim Prazak on Thursday told correspondents that the man had confessed to both incidents.. Prazak said the police had checked the identity of over 200,000 suspects in an operation which has no precedent in Czech criminal history.

The blast in Ostrava injured three people on a busy tram station, and in a separate explosion in Prague, two foreign tourists sustained bruises and cut wounds.

CZECH-NATO-SOLANA

NATO’s Secretary General Javier Solana on Thursday thanked Czech President Vaclav Havel for his firm support the allied actions in Yugoslavia.

Solana wrote in a letter to Havel that NATO’s unity during the air strikes against Yugoslavia was essential for the future of both the alliance and Europe.

Our news analyst says Havel was virtually alone in his unqualified support for the air campaign. Most Czech politicians applied a reserved attitude to the bombing.

Last week, President Havel became the first NATO head of state to visit Kosovo and meet ethnic Albanian refugees. His visit was unscheduled and Belgrade has severely criticised the Czech president.

CZECH-KOSOVO-AID

Two trucks carrying Czech humanitarian aid arrived in Kosovo on Thursday. The shipment, consisting mainly of staple foods and toiletries, was organised by the non-profit People in Need Foundation as part of its nation-wide charity effort SOS Kosovo.

The aid was financed from funds raised in two Czech cities – Ostrava and Hradec Kralove. Another four truckloads of aid are on their way to the Kosovo capital Pristina. The contents of two of them were bought for the money raised in cooperation with Czech Radio.

CZECH-BUDGET-DEFICIT

The Czech state budget was six billion crowns in the red at the end of June. The Ministry of Finance said on Thursday the previous month’s deficit was over 10 billion crowns.

The ministry said the somewhat better result last month was due to delayed income tax payments which had to be made by the end of June.

This year’s budget was originally approved by parliament to accommodate for a 31-billion-crown deficit.

CZECH-UN-ANNAN

It has been announced in Prague that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will visit the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the middle of this month.

In the Czech Republic, Annan is expected to meet President Vaclav Havel, Prime Minister Milos Zeman and other top politicians. He will also give a keynote address after receiving a Czech honour, the Jan Masaryk Medal.

He is also expected to visit the southern town of Cesky Krumlov, whose pristine medieval architecture is designated as protected by UNESCO.

CZECH-TENNIS

Tennis – and defending champion Jana Novotna lost 6-3 6-4 to third seed Lindsay Davenport in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Thursday.

U.S. Open champion Davenport broke Novotna three times in each set and the victory – her sixth straight success over the Czech player – may mean she reclaims the number one spot from Martina Hingis.

CZECH-WEATHER

Now for a look at the weather.

Friday will be a rather wet day, I am afraid, although the weatherman promised me that the skies will clear up in the afternoon. Expect daytime highs between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.

As for the long weekend, when we have two national holidays, we could have tropical heat on both days, and scattered thunderstorms. Night-time lows from 15 to 17 degrees, and daytime highs between 25 and 29 Celsius on Saturday, and up to 31 degrees on Sunday.

I’m Libor Kubik and that’s the end of the news.

02-07-1999