Daily news summary News Saturday, FEBRUARY 13th, 1999

13-02-1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Ray Furlong, and we begin with a look at the headlines:

Those are the headlines. Now the news in more detail.

NATO can take military action, Havel says

President Vaclav Havel has said NATO is entitled to use military force without the approval of the United Nations´ Security Council - if there are compelling humanitarian reasons. "I can imagine a cruel regional conflict in Europe," he said, "where our conscience, human feeling and responsibility to defend peace lead us to step in and put an end to suffering and murder - even without a Security Council resolution." President Havel was speaking during a meeting with the head of NATO´s Military Committee, Klaus Naumann, who was concluding an official visit to the Czech Republic. Naumann recalled that NATO was prepared to use force in Kosovo without UN approval, and stressed that the main role of the alliance was - aside from self-defence - the prevention and resolution of crises. He also said that when the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary enter NATO in a few weeks time it will mark the end of the artificial division of Europe.

Havel pledges support for public collection to move Lety pig farm

President Havel has promised to support a public collection to raise funds for the removal of the industrial pig farm from the site of the World War II labour camp at Lety. Havel was speaking after a meeting with Petr Uhl, the government special envoy for human rights, who came up with the idea for the collection. Uhl said the President considered the Lety controversy to be a general problem surrounding the recognition of the Romany Holocaust. Thousands of Romanies were interned at Lety during the war, where they were were worked to death in a quarry. Around three hundred died during a typhus epidemic, and most of the others subsequently perished at Auschwitz. A pig farm was built on the site of the Lety camp during the 1970s.

Zeman names his successor as Social Democrat chief

The Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, has said that he will run again for the leadership of his Social Democratic Party at a congress in April - but that it will be for the last time. Afterwards, he said, he would like the leadership to pass to Vladimir Spidla - currently his Labour and Social Affairs Minister. Zeman had already indicated that he would be ready to bow out of politics after his government´s four-year term of office expires in the year 2002.

Prague-Vienna co-operation

The city of Prague is hoping to learn from Vienna in how to lobby at the European Union. Prague Mayor Jan Kasl, speaking after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart, said city bureaucrats would receive training at Vienna´s special centre in Brussels - and that the Czech capital would also work on establishing its own representative mission at the EU headquarters within two or three years. Vienna mayor Michael Haupl stressed that it was not enough to rely on the Austrian embassy to defend his city´s interests in Brussels.

Refugees

The police in northern Bohemia have announced that they caught four Indian citizens attempting to illegally cross the border into Germany on Thursday. A 21-year-old Czech man, who was acting as their guide, has been charged with illegally crossing the frontier. Elsewhere, customs officers detained two Bulgarians who tried to cross the border by bus. The couple, a 44-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman, were travelling with forged Spanish passports which they had stuck their photographs in to. They are now in custody.

Weather

And finally, the weather - skies will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and snow storms on Saturday. This will continue on Sunday, although in some Western parts skies will clear up later. Temperatures - on Saturday a chilly minus five to minus one degree Celsius, falling to between minus five and minus nine degrees overnight. Sunday may be slightly warmer, but only by a degree or two. And that´s the news.

13-02-1999