Havel meets Rychetsky
President Vaclav Havel will receive on Tuesday vice-premier and Chairman of the Legislative Council Pavel Rychetsky, who will acquaint him in more detail with his government's legislative programme. Presidential spokesman Ladislav Spacek has told the CTK news agency that president Havel had planned to meet Mr.Rychetsky a few weeks ago, but was too busy to invite him to Prague Castle. The president recently attended a government session, where the cabinet's legislative plan was discussed. According to Spacek, the two men might also talk about possible amandments to the constitution.
Iraq said on Monday that Prague's acceptance to allow Washington set up a radio, broadcasting programmes against the Iraqi government would hurt economic ties between the two countries. Iraqi Foreign minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf told the Iraqi parliament that he had already informed Prague their move would have negative impact on economic and trade ties between the two countries. The United States on Friday launched a high profile media intervention in the Middle East as US-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty began broadcasting two new services into Iraq and Iran.
Levels of Czech rivers have been going down and the situation is getting back to normal. Hydrologists report the highest degrees of flood alert on the Morava river in the Sumperk region, and on the Orlice and Elb rivers in Eastern Bohemia. The rivers are spilling onto the meadows along the banks, and no property damage on property has been reported. In Western Bohemia, the third degree of flood alert was declared on three rivers, and the situation seems to be dangerous because more water has been flowing to the region's rivers from flooded Germany. Exceptionally strong winds, in some places reaching hurricane speed, have knocked down high voltage lines. Brooks in the Bruntal region of North Moravia, however, heavily flooded last summer, have returned to their beds and are not threatening to cause any damage at present. Hydrologists say there's no flood danger in Moravia.
According to the latest estimates by the Czech Statistical Office, the gross domestic product in the year 1998 will drop by 1,9 percent, while the previous prognosis, made on August 3rd, predicted zero growth. In its updated prognosis of this year's macro-economic development, the Statistical Office has put the annual inflation rate at 10,7 and unemployment rate at 7,2 percent.
A 5-day international seminar on defence planning in NATO member countries has started in Prague. After its opening, Defence Minister Vladimir Vetchy told journalists he hoped that high-ranking Czech state officials and army officers would learn how the planning is done in Western democratic states, and about its possible application in the Czech Republic. The seminar, organized by the George Marshall European centre for security studies based in Germany, is being attended by some 50 representatives from all Czech ministries, and according to Defence Minister Vetchy the venture should contribute to boosting the Czech defence planning compatibility.
30 percent of Czechs are satisfied with the present political situation in the country. This result from the latest survey of the Public Opinion Research Institute, however, also revealed that 66 percent of respondents consider the situation less than satisfactory. Most people, according to the Institute, declared themselves 'rather dissatisfied' - some 48 percent, while 18 percent said they were 'very dissatisfied'. The survey disclosed that the majority of those satisfied with the present political situation were young people and students, while those who expressed dissatisfaction were mainly pensioners and people with lower living standards.
The European Union will be prepared for its enlargement sooner than the Czech Republic is prepared to enter it, according to a high ranking official from the German Foreign Ministry, Wilhelm Schonfelder. He said this in Prague on Monday, while trying to persuade Czech newspeople that the predicted entry date of 2003 would never be endangered by EU unpreparedness. Schonfelder admitted though, that negotiations about Czech entry might not be easy.
Now a look at the weather: it will be cloudy to overcast with rain, and snow it the mountain areas. Daytime highs should range between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.
It's the first day of the offical pre-election campaign for local elections
and the leadership of the Czech Social democratic party will meet with their colleagues from the Spanish workers' socialist party in Prague.
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