News Friday, AUGUST 28th, 1998

Radio Prague E-News Date: August 28, 1998 Written/read by: Libor Kubik

Hello from Prague. I am Libor Kubik and here's the news in brief.


Czech President Vaclav Havel is being discharged from hospital today, more than one month after an intestinal surgery to remove his colostomy bag.

Havel's health coordinator Miroslav Cerbak said the president would recuperate at Lany Castle near Prague.

Doctors at Prague's Central Military Hospital have confirmed that a tube had been removed from his throat following a tracheotomy operation to assist his breathing.

Havel had an artificial bowel outlet removed several months after emergency surgery in Austria last spring.


Contrary to earlier announcements, the Prague-based U.S.- funded Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty will not start broadcasting an Arabic service to Iraq on September 1.

Only the launching of a Farsi service for Iran will go ahead as planned from a villa in Western Prague.

The Czech government has now decided that the station's funder, the United States, must officially seek approval from Premier Milos Zeman's Social Democrat cabinet.

Our correspondent says an earlier agreement between the United States and the Czech Republic mentioned only radio broadcasts to Iran, and not to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Czech government officials, Prague residents and RFE/RL employees themselves have expressed serious concerns about the security of what could quickly become one of the highest- profile examples of U.S. intervention in the Middle East.


The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed support to the joint efforts by the United States, Britain and the Netherlands to resolve the long-standing dispute with Libya over the extradition of two men suspected of masterminding the bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie 10 years ago. The states concerned have proposed to Libya that the suspects be tried by a Scottish court meeting in Holland.

In another move, the Czech ministry has warned citizens not to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan, following recent American missile attacks against targets Washington has described as terrorist.

No warning was issued to travellers to Sudan, which was also the target of last week's U.S. missile raid.


A Defence Ministry commission of inquiry has been appointed in Prague after a Czech Air Force jet suffered an accident while on a training flight late on Wednesday near the central Moravian town of Trebic.

Our correspondent says the Russian-built MiG 23's auxiliary fuel tank became loose and crashed into a field. No one was hurt in the accident and the pilot landed safely at his air base. No environmental damage was caused.


Czech stock prices went out of control on Thursday and began to fall dramatically in the wake of Russia's financial crisis and slumping markets in the neighbouring countries.

Patria Finance dealer Pavel Ruzicka told Czech Radio that blue chip shares traded in the SPAD system had suffered a more than 10-percent weakening.

The Ceska Sporitelna savings bank stopped stock trading on Thursday after its shares dropped more than 20 percent in value.


Czech Education Minister Eduard Zeman said on Thursday that the schools in dire need of a financial shot in the arm must wait.

The minister said that was because under valid laws concerning the state budget, the government cannot decide about money appropriations as its budget reserves are depleted.

The government took off its agenda also a motion designed to increase the funding of teachers' salaries.


Finally, the weather report for the weekend: The cold air intrusion from the northwest will continue on both days. We are expecting scattered showers across the Czech Republic and maximum daytime temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius. Nighttime lows between five and 10 degrees.

And that's the end of the news.