Daily news summary News Thursday, MARCH 04th, 1999

04-03-1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Marketa Atanasova and we will begin with the bulletin of today's news. First the headlines.

Those were the headlines, now the news in full.

PRESIDENT HAVEL CALLS FOR AN EU CONSTITUTION

Czech president Vaclav Havel, who is leaving France today following a three day official visit, gave a speech in the French senate yesterday, in which he called for adopting an EU constitution and establishing a second chamber of the European Parliament, which would complement the current Parliament structure. The clear and concise constitution should have a preamble explaining the main idea behind the European Union and defining its backbone institutions, their competencies and their interrelationship, Havel said. According to him, such document should help each European citizen understand the meaning of the unification process and the central idea behind it. Sooner or later, Havel said, the situation will call for establishing a two-chamber parliament, common in all normally functioning federations. The second parliament chamber would remove problems such as national representation in the EU commission, because it would give both big and small EU countries equal voting rights. After the enlargement, the EU commission wouldn't have to include all member countries. The interests of those not represented in the commission could be voiced, for example, by the European council or the second parliament chamber, Havel explained his vision. He also stressed that those EU members who are worried about the EU enlargement by including the post-communist democracies should realise their share of responsibility for the former division of Europe. Havel's speech in the French senate was interrupted several times by an applause from the senators, and the Czech president was described by the chairman of the French chamber of parliament as one of the most significant and most popular presidents of the democratic world. Vaclav Havel is returning home today.

THE FOUR PARTY COALITION CONFERENCE MEETS TO ADOPT JOINT APPROACH TO RESOLVING THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY

The four party coalition comprising the Christian Democrats, the Civic Democratic Alliance, the Democratic Union, and the Freedom Union meets today to discuss a joint approach to resolving the current economic situation in the Czech Republic. Today, the conference, which is organised in co- operation with the Institute for European politics and economics, will deal with the job market situation in the Czech Republic and regional development. The conference will discuss - with the participation of independent specialists - the competitiveness of the Czech economy and investment opportunities.

THE CZECH SENATE COMMITTEE TO CLARIFY THE BIS SITUATION

The Czech minister without portfolio, responsible for the country's intelligence services, Jaroslav Basta, is to inform the senate committee about the latest developments in the Czech intelligence service, the BIS, following the dismissal of its chief, Karel Vulterin, earlier this year. Today's session of the senate committee should shed some light on the serious leak of information from BIS, which led to the revelation of the name and the sexual orientation of the British intelligence service agent in the Czech Republic.

OFFICERS OF THE GERMAN BUNDESWEHR VISIT CZECH MILITARY INSTALLATIONS

A group of 30 German Bundeswehr officers from the Dresden Military school is visiting Czech military installations, in order to become more familiar with the training conditions of their future NATO partners. The Czech and the German officers discussed the working conditions and training of the command staff, as well as the process of modernisation of the tactical operational system of the land command. While the modernisation of the former East-German army took two and a half years, the same process in the Czech Republic will take longer, due to the country's economic situation.

CZECH RIVERS THREATEN WITH FLOODS

Following two days of a steady rain and the previous heavy snowfall in many parts of the Czech Republic, the state of emergency has been announced in several districts of Northern and Western Bohemia, as water level has risen sharply, and in many cases threatens the surrounding area with floods. Second and third degree emergency state has been announced in the district of Cheb and Usti nad Labem, in the North-West. It is particularly the river Labe, which causes most concern, as it threatens to flood a section of the highway connecting Prague and the North-Western cities of Usti nad Labem and Decin, near the border with Germany.

AUSTRIAN RADIO WARNS SEXTOURISTS NOT TO BUY FALSE VIAGRA IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Austrian public radio, the ORF, has warned German and Austrian tourists travelling to the Czech republic to seek sexual pleasures in the country's many erotic parlours, not to buy what is supposed to pass as Viagra-related products. Two different kinds of pills, with allegedly the same effect as Viagra, are being sold to tourists visiting erotic clubs near the Czech border with Austria and Germany. The products contain agents used in impotence-treating drugs, but with potentially serious side-effects, including a rapid drop of blood pressure, blood circulation problems, and a damage to human liver and kidneys. According to the police, the main culprits have been arrested.

SATELLITE TRANSMITTERS TO TRACK BLACK STORKS

The French environment minister, Dominique Voynet, has handed over to her Czech counterpart, Milos Kunzvart, two satellite transmitters to monitor the migration of the endangered species of the black stork. The programme for the protection of these rare birds, called Cygognes sans frontiers is a joint effort of Belgian, Czech and Luxembourg environmentalists. The transmitters are a compensation for two black storks shot by French hunters last year. Disputes concerning the rights of French hunters are permanently on the agenda of French political debates. The Czech environment minister Milos Kunzvart is in France, accompanying president Vaclav Havel on his official visit.

WEATHER

And finally the weather. Spring is in the air. Although the skies will remain cloudy or partially cloudy in most parts of the country, the temperatures will range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius. Mountain regions can still expect snow showers.

And that's the end of the news.

04-03-1999