Daily news summary News Tuesday, JUNE 02th, 1998

02-06-1998

Radio Prague E-News date: June 2, 1998, 0700 UTC written/read by: Libor Kubik

These are the main Czech stories at this hour, now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.

HAVEL-GYPSIES

Czech President Vaclav Havel has proposed reinstalling a government human rights watchdog committee, possibly headed by a vice premier.

Speaking after a meeting with Romany affairs minister Vladimir Mlynar, Havel said on Monday he would communicate his wish to those asked to form a new cabinet after mid-June's early general elections.

Havel praised Premier Tosovsky's interim government for its efforts to tackle the problems of the country's Gypsy, or Romany, ethnic minority.

At Lany Castle outside Prague, where Havel is recuperating from a serious health problem, the president and Mlynar, who is responsible for the government's ethnic policies, met on Monday to agree that the Romany problem is a matter for the next government to solve.

Our correspondent says Czech Romanies have recently been the victims of a series of racist attacks by the white majority.

CZECH-GERMANY-MINISTER

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said on Monday that bilateral historical problems between his country and the Czech Republic must not be tied to Czech accession to the EU.

But speaking in Bonn one day after the weekend's Sudeten German rally in Nuremberg, Kinkel said Germany would not close the file on the property claims of Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II.

Minister Kinkel was reacting to Bavarian Premier Edmund Stoiber's demands on Sunday that the Czech Republic's admission to the European Union be made conditional on redressing Sudeten German's property and right-to-settle claims.

Kinkel said Germany's foreign policy was not being formulated in Bavaria, or by Mr Stoiber, whose demands he described as unrealistic and irresponsible.

CZECH-ITALY-NATO

Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said on Monday his country's parliament will ratify the accession of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to the North Atlantic alliance before the end of the month.

His Czech counterpart Jaroslav Sedivy, who is in Rome, said he expected the ratification process in the Italian lower house to be a straightforward business. The only opposition, he said, comes from the Italian Communists and Greens.

CZECH-WAGES-STATISTICS

Wages in the Czech Republic rose in the first three months of this year by almost 11 percent in comparison with the same period in 1997, and the average before-tax monthly wage now amounts to 10,400 crowns. This according to the data released on Monday by the Czech Bureau of Statistics.

But the bureau said consumer prices rose more than 13 percent in the same period, this projecting into a real income loss of about two percent, and up to 7.3 percent in the nonprofit sphere.

CZECH-ELECTION

In our election news service today, more than 45 percent of Czechs prefer a system of two strong parties, while 36 percent of those questioned by the Sofres-Factum polling agency are happy with the current system of competition among more than two parties.

The survey's chief Stanislav Hampl says this is the first time respondents favour a dual system.

The Breclav-based Moraviapress company started printing ballot cards on Monday, less than three weeks ahead of the early parliamentary elections scheduled for June 19 and 20.

The firm said that the about 9.5 million voting cards needed will be distributed among voters by next Tuesday.

The non-parliamentary Green Party said on Monday it had complained to the Central Electoral Commission about Czech Public TV's failure to reserve an air-time for those parties which have not paid deposits.

The Greens' deputy chairman Radek Lanc cited the election law as stipulating that every political party is entitled to 14 hours of air time on the public-service electronic media without any restrictions whatsoever.

Czech Television said its conscience was clear.

CZECH-US-SOPRANO

The American Embassy in Prague declined comment on Monday on the incident between the well-known American soprano Kathleen Battle and the personnel of a restaurant in Prague's Old Town Square.

Battle, a guest of the current Prague Spring International Music Festival, was allegedly assaulted by the restaurant personnel when she refused to pay her bill on Saturday.

Police ruled out a racist motive and the embassy said it had not been approached by Ms Battle.

The festival's director Oleg Podgorny has alleged the famous soprano, who has left the Czech Republic, was physically assaulted and called a nigger in the incident.

CZECH-TENNIS

Tennis -- and from the French Open results on Monday, third- seeded Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic beat Russia's Anna Kournikova 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 and made her way to the quarter- finals of the grand slam tournament.

CZECH-WEATHER

Finally, the weather: expect cloudy skies on Tuesday with scattered showers in the northwest of the Czech Republic. Daytime highs a balmy 22 to 26 degrees Celsius.

On Wednesday and Thursday, a cold front will move eastward across the Czech Republic, bringing along appreciably more precipitations and, yes, even thunderstorms.

Nighttime lows between 12 and 16 degrees on Wednesday and a notch lower on Thursday. Afternoon maximum temperatures from 21 to 25 Celsius on both days.

And that's the end of the news.

02-06-1998