Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.
These are the main points and now the news in more detail.
The second round of political talks led by Social Democrat Milos Zeman on forming a new cabinet is to start on Tuesday. Mr. Zeman will first meet with Vaclav Klaus, who leads the second strongest party, the Civic Democrats, and then with all the other parties that are present in the Chamber of deputies.
Results of the talks so far do not indicate that Zeman will be able to find coalition partners for a majority government. He prefers a coalition with the Christian Democrats, relying on tacit support from the Freedom Union, but these parties have rejected this proposal.
The first round of political talks on a new cabinet ended on Monday when president Havel met with Christian Democrat and Freedom Union leaders Josef Lux and Jan Ruml. The Christian Democrats repeated that they would not enter a minority government with the Social Democrats which would be dependent on tacit support from another party in the parliament.
President Havel supported the five demands the Freedom Union had come up with at the weekend for the formation of a right-wing cabinet. The Freedom Union demands that no party has a majority in the government, and the cabinet must follow the policies of the current cabinet of Josef Tosovky's, thoroughly analyze the causes of economic stagnation and be pro-European.
The Czech army will earmark a rapid deployment force for NATO next year which will be able to be deployed within ten days, Czech army chief of staff Jiri Sedivy said on Monday.
He said the rapid deployment force will have a chemical protection company with supporting logistics elements and a helicopter flight by April 1999 when the Czech Republic is expected to join NATO.
The recently established Czech State Security Council met for the first time on Monday to discuss the Czech Republic's national security and defence strategies and a long-term concept for the defence sector.
Defence minister Michal Lobkowicz said the main change, which will take place in several months time, will be a shift to the collective defence principle. The Czech Republic is expected to become a NATO member in 1999 and according to minister Lobkowicz, it must be able to cooperate with NATO forces.
The State Security Council is comprised of the premier, deputy premiers and ministers of defence, interior, finance, and foreign affairs. President Havel, who is the supreme commander of Czech armed forces, was also present at the first meeting of the council. The president said the main task of the security council would be to deal with crisis situations like mass migration, a rise in organized crime or religious fundamentalism, ethnic conflicts and environmental disasters. He also said it was necessary to quickly adopt national security and defence strategies that were in keeping with the Czech Republic's accession to NATO.
Austria, which takes over EU presidency on Wednesday, wants to start political negotiations on EU membership with six applicant countries by the end of this year. Austrian foreign minister Wolfgang Shussel said he had consulted this plan with all the fifteen members and all of them approved of it.
Austria intends to start the negotiations as soon as 13 out of 30 chapters of legislation undergoes the screening process in the applicant countries. This is expected to be at the end of September.
The shocking drop in the Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of this year made economists revise their forecasts of this basic macroeconomic indicator. The revised prognoses average around one percent, instead of the formerly predicted 2 to 3 percent GDP growth.
The Czech GDP dropped in the first quarter on 1998 by nine tenths of a percent which was the first decrease since 1993.
And finally, a quick look at the weather. We are expecting a partially cloudy day, afternoon highs should range from 21 to 25 degrees Celsius. Wednesday and Thursday should be mostly cloudy with occasional showers, with temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius.
And that's the end of the news.
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Wide range of events in store for Czechs this weekend as 30-year anniversary of Velvet Revolution reaches climax
Study: Airbnb to push Prague citizens out of wider city centre
Shabby pub profits from nostalgia
Hundreds of thousands again gather in Prague to voice their opposition to prime minister