Daily news summary News Friday, JULY 30th, 1999

30-07-1999

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

HAVEL-BALKANS

Czech President Vaclav Havel arrives in Sarajevo on Friday at the start of a summit conference on the future of the Balkans. The meeting is attended by senior officials from more than 30 states from all around Europe and overseas.

Our correspondent says the three-hour summit in war-torn Sarajevo's Zetra Olympic Complex should produce a declaration in support of regional cooperation in the Balkans and its possible inclusion in the EU and NATO.

Yugoslavia's President Slobodan Milosevic is excluded from the project as he is widely considered the main culprit of the crisis.

CZECH-GOVT-KOSOVO

The Czech government on Thursday endorsed a repatriation programme for Kosovo refugees and an aid package for seriously ill ethnic Albanians who would receive treatment in Czech hospitals after evacuation from the troubled southern Serbian province.

Cabinet Spokesman Libor Roucek says 10 million crowns were being released to finance the airlift, treatment and repatriation of the patients and their close families.

Another 30 million crowns would be spent on the voluntary repatriation and airlifting of the refugees who have spent a time on Czech soil, and up to 20 million crowns would be allotted to finance the sojourn in the Czech Republic of those who wished to stay here till the end of the year.

CZECH-HOCKEY-DOMINATOR

The world's best ice hockey goalkeeper, Czech Dominik Hasek, announced on Thursday he will retire at the end of the upcoming NHL season.

The Buffalo Sabres' five-times winner of the prestigious Vezina Trophy told a press conference in Prague his announcement had been planned for this summer so he could concentrate only on ice- hockey.

Thirty-four-year-old Dominator, the gold medal hero of last year's Nagano Olympics, said he wanted to return home to the Czech Republic to raise his two children here and not be split between two cultures.

CZECH-STUDENTS-RACIST

Six girl students attending an international language school in Plzen have filed a suit against two disco clubs which they say have prevented them from entering, citing the colour of their skin.

Both Czech Public Television and private channel TV NOVA reported on Thursday evening that Plzen police are carrying out an investigation. The students cite racial discrimination. The television reports described them as members of the Roma community.

The West Bohemian University, which is organising the summer school, has supported the girls' claim and said it would seek an explanation why they were banned from entering the clubs.

CZECH-EU-HEALTH-MUSHROOMS

The European Commission said on Thursday it would tighten long-standing checks on mushrooms imported from 23 countries including the Czech Republic over fears they were still contaminated with radiation as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident more than 13 years ago.

The Commission singled out wild mushrooms as being particularly prone to contamination and said levels of radioactive caesium had hardly declined and may well have increased in the case of certain species since 1986.

European Union states would be legally obliged to carry out rigorous checks on mushrooms imported from outside the bloc and all products would have to be certified safe before they could be sold.

CZECH-PRAGUE-SECURITY

Stepped-up security measures around the U.S. embassy and some other institutions in central Prague, including the headquarters of the American broadcasting stations Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty will remain in force at least until Friday, according to the Prague Police Chief.

The police and the Interior Ministry are to hold a meeting on Friday to outline a further strategy, and security around Radio Free Europe has been increased in the wake of an anonymous telephone threat last week.

The police have refused to comment on its nature but our correspondent says the threat was aimed at RFE's broadcasts to Iran and Iraq, which originate in Prague.

CZECH-GOVT-Y2K

The Czech government has decided against making December 31 this year a holiday and people will have to go to work as usual.

This despite a request by the Czech National Bank that the last day of 1999 be declared a public holiday because of the "millennium bug" problem some of its computer systems might encounter.

The government said it wanted the central bank and other institutions to produce a final report by October 15 on the level of their readiness to cope with any potential problems related to the year 2000.

CZECH-GERMAN-SEX-DEATH

A 45-year-old German man died early on Thursday in an erotic club at Dubi outside the north Bohemian town of Teplice. Police said a heart attack induced by sexual arousal probably had been the cause.

The CTK news agency reports that the German sex tourist nearly suffocated his date by the sheer weight of his body while indulging in a love game in a rented room. The agency said three Germans died last year in the embrace of Czech prostitutes at Dubi.

CZECH-WEATHER

Friday will be a very hot day here in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius and some scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Night-time lows from 12 to 16 degrees.

At the weekend, the fine weather we have enjoyed over the past few days will remain basically unchanged. Again, we are expecting some rain but daytime temperatures will remain in the high twenties, cooling off to about 15 degrees in the night.

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

30-07-1999