Daily news summary News Monday, APRIL 26th, 1999

26-04-1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to you from Radio Prague. Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik in Studio 23.

NATO-SUMMIT-CZECH

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has indicated that his government will not send troops to participate in a potential ground operation in Kosovo.

Speaking after NATO's Washington summit, he said Prague would only despatch troops to serve with peacekeeping forces in the region.

Earlier, President Vaclav Havel said that sending Czech troops to a ground operation was not being considered for the time being. The Washington Post has in the meantime reported that Germany and the Czech Republic fear their governments might collapse if these countries were asked to participate in a ground invasion of Yugoslavia. The Czech foreign minister vehemently denied these reports.

CZECH-YUGO-ENVOY

Yugoslavia's Ambassador to Prague Djoko Stojicic has appealed to Czech leaders and journalists to condemn Friday's NATO attack against the Belgrade headquarters of the Serbian state television RTS.

He stressed in a letter to the Czech prime minister, both houses of Parliament, the ministers of culture and foreign affairs that the building was destroyed and people killed and wounded in an undeclared war which he said NATO was waging against his country.

The Senate's Chairperson Libuse Benesova reacted by saying that although she was sorry for those who had suffered, a television station was, regrettably, a legitimate target because it was a communications centre.

Minister of Culture Pavel Dostal described Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his regime as the root cause of all evil in the Balkans.

The missile attack on the broadcasting centre has reportedly claimed 15 lives and left 17 people wounded. The television resumed broadcasting on Sunday afternoon.

CZECH-KOSOVO-AID

As the drama of the Kosovo refugees continues unabated, almost four million crowns have been raised to date by the Czech Catholic charity Help Kosovo.

The fundraising effort continues in all Roman Catholic churches throughout the country. The charity's spokesman Jan Oulik has told correspondents that a third of the collected sum has been used to buy food and hygienic goods. He said the aid had been despatched to Albania and Montenegro in conjunction with the People in Need foundation, attached to Czech Public Television.

Similar fundraising efforts are underway also in Protestant congregations. They are organised by the Adventist charity foundation ADRA.

The SOS Kosovo effort, organised by the People in Need foundation, has thus far yielded more than 15 million crowns – mostly donations by private citizens.

CZECH-JEWS-REMEMBRANCE

Members of the Jewish community in the North Moravian city of Ostrava on Sunday held a solemn act of remembrance of Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Survivors of Nazi death camps gathered at the local Jewish cemetery to light six candles, symbolising the six million Jews who perished in the camps, and a separate candle for one million Jewish people who died on the battlefronts of World War II.

The community's elder Ladislav Madry said they had fallen victim to human hate simply because they had other religious convictions. He said the world had not learned its lesson in the last world war and racism had not become a warning for the world community, as evidenced by the crisis in Yugoslavia.

Before the Second World War, Ostrava was a major centre for Czechoslovak Jews. The city's Jewish population, which at that time numbered more than 10,000, was decimated to less than 5,000 after the war.

CZECH-NUCLEAR-HAPPENING

About 250 Austrians from districts neighbouring the Czech Republic on Sunday took part in a happening staged by anti-nuclear activists outside the controversial nuclear power station in Temelin just north of Austria's border.

But the event, organised by the Czech environmental forum EEF, proceeded in the absence of this country's main ecological groups, which were not invited.

Austria and some Czech environmental groups want Temelin converted to use alternative fuels.

CZECH-PARTIES-POLITICS

The opposition Czech Christian Democrats have warned that if the ruling Social Democrats and the main-opposition Civic Democratic Party succeed in changing the current proportional system of electing the House of Deputies into a majority one, which is biased against smaller parties, this could lead to major upheavals on the national political scene.

Christian Democrat Spokesman Petr Koutny on Sunday told the CTK news agency that attempts to wipe out some smaller parties could easily backfire against their perpetrators.

CZECH-WEATHER

Finally, a quick look at the weather here in the Czech Republic.

On Monday and Tuesday, we expect an intrusion of warmer air and should be prepared for occasional thunderstorms. Night-time lows from five to nine degrees, daytime maximums between 16 and 20 Celsius.

On Wednesday, temperatures should remain the same and again, the weatherman forecasts scattered showers and thunderstorms.

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

26-04-1999