Daily news summary News Saturday, OCTOBER 30th, 1999

30-10-1999

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-POLITICS

Czech President Vaclav Havel's spokesman says the vice premier whose resignation was announced on Thursday will have to continue to serve until Havel returns from a holiday in Portugal in the middle of November.

Prime Minister Milos Zeman had said that Egon Lansky, deputy prime minister for European integration, would resign on health grounds. But Lansky has come under criticism after a scathing report on the Czech EU membership bid was released by the European Union in mid-October.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party hinted on Friday that a government reshuffle could be expected as early as next month. But he did not elaborate.

CZECH-HOLIDAY-PROTEST

All people detained during Thursday's extreme right and left wing protests in Prague have now been released but the police said ten charges have been made.

As has become customary, left-wing anarchist groups and skinhead gangs staged violent demonstrations to mark the anniversary of Czechoslovakia's foundation in October 1918.

Meanwhile, the group calling itself the Movement for Human Solidarity and Tolerance, or HOST, has described the police action against left-wing radicals as illegal. HOST said it will sue the police for their failure to dissolve a skinhead rally after racist slogans were heard in public.

CZECH-AUSTRIA-RACIST

Police in Austria have arrested several members of a neo-Nazi group which they said had contacts with similar movements abroad, including the Czech Republic.

Police in Upper Austria said on Friday the group had planned to operate a training camp on Czech soil and plotted to acquire firearms.

GERMANY-CZECH-SLAVELABOUR

The German government on Friday agreed to raise a multibillion-dollar compensation offer to former Nazi slave labourers from occupied Europe including today's Czech Republic.

Germany earlier this month offered former Nazi slave workers a package of four billion marks from private industry and two billion marks from the state. But this offer was rejected by the victims and their lawyers, who said it was an insult to their clients.

Our correspondent says it is not clear whether the German government itself would pay more or call on industry to pick up the bill.

CZECH-PRESIDENT-LEGISLATION

Czech President Vaclav Havel on Friday signed a legislation which grants official status to gamekeepers and wildlife protection inspectors.

The amendment was passed by the lower house last week despite heavy opposition from the Senate which feared massive abuses of official powers.

Professionals in this field welcome the latest developments, saying the law will enhance their powers in prosecuting poachers and thieves.

CZECH-GERMAN-LAWYER

Sources close to Germany's post-war expellees from the then Czechoslovakia announced on Friday that U.S. lawyer Edward Fagan is prepared to represent their organisation in a lawsuit against the Czech Republic.

They said Fagan, who successfully defended victims of the Holocaust, would become available within six weeks' time.

The organisation also said it was going to sue the German government for lack of commitment towards the expellees.

Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans were deported from Czechoslovakia after World War Two for their alleged collaboration with the Nazis. Some of them were deported under a set of decrees issued by Czechoslovak President Edvard Benes, while others were the victims of wildcat purges.

CZECH-WEATHER

Saturday will start promisingly here in the Czech Republic and daytime highs between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius are highly probable. But This idyll will be spoiled in the late hours by scattered showers in many places of the country.

Sunday will be a wet day with early morning lows between four and eight degrees, and afternoon highs from 11 to 15 Celsius.

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

30-10-1999