News Friday, JANUARY 21st, 2000

r_2100x1400_radio_praha.png

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

Those were the main points, and now the news in full.

CZECH-PARTY-POLITICS

Leaders of the two main Czech political parties are to meet later on Friday to review a power- sharing pact which helped the Social Democrats form a minority government after an inconclusive parliamentary election 18 months ago.

The senior opposition Civic Democratic Party of ex-premier Vaclav Klaus have made their support of the government's draft budget for this year conditional on a sweeping cabinet reshuffle.

Our correspondent says the two parties are working to conclude five specific agreements which would enhance their power-sharing pact and stave off the prospect of early elections.

CZECH-TURKEY-CRIME

Czech police said on Thursday that a 36-year-old Turkish man arrested earlier this week on an international murder and robbery warrant was left-wing Turkish militant Suleyman Sahin.

A police spokeswoman said Sahin was arrested on the basis of an Interpol warrant as he tried to cross into the Czech Republic from Germany on Monday. Sahin had been sought throughout Europe since escaping from a Turkish jail more than six years ago.

The spokeswoman said he was wanted in connection with his activities as part of a Turkish terrorist group and would be held pending extradition hearings in the North Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem.

Our correspondent says that Sahin, a member of the Maoist guerrilla group called the Turkish Workers and Peasants Liberation Army, was serving a prison term for subversion when he escaped in 1993.

Turkey's Justice Ministry is reported to have begun preparing an extradition request for Sahin and is expected to present it to Czech authorities before the end of January.

CZECH-BLIND-PROTEST

The atmosphere was tense outside the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on Thursday as hundreds of blind and visually-impaired people protested against the government's decision to cut subsidies for social welfare services.

Minister Vladimir Spidla assured the protesters that the decision is provisional and that the government has no plans to curb benefits for the handicapped.

The protesters argued that the planned cuts may lead to closing rehabilitation centres for the blind and might impair guide dog training programmes as well as other services and amenities.

CZECH-AUTO-BARGAINING

Trade unions and the management of the Czech auto maker Skoda in Mlada Boleslav have now reached an agreement on the terms and conditions of their collective contract for this year.

Our correspondent says the agreement ends a weeks-long dispute over pay and working hours. He says the unions won important concessions from the management concerning full employment and a nearly four-percent average pay increase.

CZECH-ITALY-SMUGGLING

Police at Mikulov on the Czech-Austrian border On Thursday discovered a 36-year-old Italian man hiding in the hood of his Czech girlfriend's car.

The police said the man had apparently lost his passport but hadn't wished to postpone his planned trip to the Czech Republic.

A police spokesman said the man would enter the annals as probably the first Italian classified as a refugee in the Czech Republic. He was handed over to the Austrian border police and his girlfriend is facing smuggling charges.

CZECH-WEATHER

All Czech winter sports centres reported excellent skiing conditions on Thursday and it should stay that way throughout the weekend. However, the Mountain Rescue Service has issued an avalanche warning for the Krkonose or Giant Mountains and the smaller Ash Mountains or Jeseniky in Northern Moravia.

Talking about the weather -- a cold front will advance across the Czech Republic on Friday, bringing along subzero temperatures at night and daytime highs only slightly above freezing point.

We expect frequent snow showers throughout the weekend, enhanced by a low pressure area on Saturday, when nighttime temperatures will be four to eight degrees Celsius below zero, and daytime highs between minus four and zero.

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