Daily news summary News Monday, OCTOBER 25th, 1999

25-10-1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik and here's the news. First the headlines.

Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail.

CZECH-ECONOMY-LAGGING

According to a prominent Czech-born American scholar, this country's economy is currently losing two years on Poland and Hungary.

Professor Jan Svejnar of the Michigan University's prestigious Davidson Institute said on Sunday the gap could be narrowed if the Czech Republic proves capable of completing its economic transformation process. Svejnar specifically mentioned the privatisation of banks and the few companies which still remain in state hands.

Professor Svejnar called for more vigorous law enforcement in the banking sector.

CZECH-POLITICS

The Civic Democrats' parliamentary leader Vlastimil Tlusty says a 15-month-old power-sharing deal between his party and the ruling Social Democrats has lost its relevance and should be scrapped.

Tlusty -- a leading critic of the agreement which enabled the forming of a minority socialist government after last year's election but which guaranteed the Civic Democrats the top posts in both chambers of parliament -- said in Sunday's debate programme on private TV Nova that the so- called opposition agreement must be abrogated as soon as progress is made in talks on forming a majority cabinet.

The Civic Democrats last week proposed a super grand coalition of all democratic parties except for the Communists but the smaller right-wing opposition parties have not accepted this proposition.

The Civic Democrats' chairman Vaclav Klaus said on Sunday that next year's state budget will not be approved until talks on a government reshuffle have been completed.

CZECH-HEALTH-SUE

Health Minister Ivan David has dismissed a lawsuit filed against him by the director of Prague's Motol University Hospital Helena Roegnerova. Dr. Roegnerova claims David made her sign a disadvantageous contract with a catering firm.

David, who is facing a barrage of criticism for his alleged incompetence, ruthless manners and lack of professional integrity, told Czech Radio on Sunday that the winning company had passed through tough tender proceedings. But Roegnerova claims the contract is costing her hospital 22 million crowns a year in lost revenues. She claims she has received threatening telephone calls from the minister.

David said he would be suing back.

CZECH-CHEMICALS-STREAMLINE

The giant SPCH chemical producer based in the North Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem announced on Sunday it will make hundreds of employees redundant by the end of the year in an effort to streamline its operations and become more competitive on the international market.

Under the streamlining project, at least 600 employees are to leave the SPCH which hopes it will become more cost-effective.

Critics say the lay-offs will further worsen the region's high unemployment rate.

CZECH-JAZZ-FESTIVAL

More than 4,000 people have visited the Jazz Goes to Town music festival which ended in the East Bohemian city of Hradec Kralove at the weekend.

Graced by the presence of such jazz greats as Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and the British band Bill Bruford's Earthworks, the festival featured about 40 ensembles and music ran the gamut from traditional jazz to fusion, blues and hard core jazz.

Jana Koubkova's Afro-Latin band and a quartet led by pianist Milan Svoboda were among the festival's chief national talents.

CZECH-WEATHER

And we end as usual with a weather report.

Warm southern air is still pouring into the Czech Republic, bringing along quite a lot of precipitation. Monday will be a wet day with daytime highs between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius and night-time lows around eight degrees.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we expect more of the same -- that's scattered showers, morning fogs and daytime temperatures around 15 Celsius.

And that's the news, I am Libor Kubik.

25-10-1999