Daily news summary News Tuesday, DECEMBER 28th, 1999

28-12-1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik and we begin as usual with the news.

CZECH-GOVT-EAVESDROP

Former Czech Health Minister Ivan David has alleged his office was tapped in the period before he resigned earlier this month.

Doctor David says he had information about eavesdropping several months before he and his aides discovered a bugging device. He maintains he has reported the case to the police and to Minister without Portfolio Jaroslav Basta, who is in charge of intelligence services.

David said on Monday he may not have been the only cabinet member to be spied on electronically.

CZECH-PLANT-WAGES

Employees of Brno's troubled Zetor tractor plant on Monday at long last received the first half of 60 percent of their gross wages for October.

The factory's TU leader said the amount paid on Monday was roughly 5,000 crowns, that's about 150 U.S. dollars, per person.

All Zetor employees are on a paid leave but must be on standby. Zetor has announced its projected losses for this year will exceed one billion crowns.

CZECH-POP-ARREST

A regional court in the North Bohemian town of Most has ordered the arrest of a member of the country's top-selling pop group Lunetic on charges of incitement to blackmail.

Martin Kocian, who is facing up to eight years in jail, failed to appear in court which opened the case shortly before Christmas.

Twenty-three-year-old Kocian stands accused of inciting two bodyguards five years ago to ask the owner of a disco club for money in return for protecting his business. The two men are said to have threatened the club's owner with the use of firearms.

Lunetic are a five-piece all-boys vocal band whose concerts often lead to teenage hysteria.

CZECH-GERMAN-RADIO

The German international radio Deutsche Welle has announced it will wind up its Czech-language service on the last day of this year.

The public-service DW said on Monday it was closing six other foreign-language broadcasts. Until now, its programmes in Czech could be heard via Czech Radio's Channel 6 in association with Radio Free Europe.

CZECH-TOLERANCE-POLL

Only half of the Czech nation remains tolerant towards their political leaders, at least according to a poll released on Monday. This is a 15-percent slump compared with last year.

The government-funded IVVM polling agency further said that three quarters of those asked were tolerant towards their handicapped fellow citizens, teenagers and people with different religious beliefs.

On the contrary, only a third of those polled said they tolerate ethnic Roma people, although tolerance for foreigners and people of different races has gone up slightly.

CZECH-ATHLETE-1999

Sport -- and the Czech decathlonist Tomas Dvorak and Romanian distance runner Gabriela Szabo were on Monday elected the best European athletes of 1999.

Twenty-seven-year-old Dvorak, a two-times world champion, collected the most points in the European Athletics Association's annual polls. He was followed by the Danish runner Wilson Kipketer, with the British hurdles champion Colin Jackson taking third place.

CZECH-SNOW

Heavy snowfall complicates road traffic throughout most of Western Bohemia, where many mountain roads remain off-limits for drivers.

Local authorities have warned drivers to use snow chains on most roads. Many roads are also blocked by fallen trees.

CZECH-WEATHER

Talking about snow -- here's a brief weather forecast.

On Tuesday, an intrusion of cold western air will bring more scattered snow showers to the Czech Republic. We expect early morning lows between zero and -4 degrees Celsius and daytime highs around freezing point.

On Wednesday and Thursday, we should be prepared for even more cold weather and lots of precipitation, some of it in the form of snow showers. Nighttime lows between 3 and 7 degrees below zero, daytime highs around freezing point.

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

28-12-1999