News Friday, MAY 07th, 1999

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.


Czech Lower House Speaker Vaclav Klaus has welcomed the decision by the world's seven most advanced countries and Russia to outline principles of solving the crisis in Kosovo.

Mr. Klaus, who is chairman of the main-opposition Civic Democratic Party, has described their decision as a splendid thing.

Klaus has been an opponent of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia from the outset of the bombing more than 40 years ago.

At a meeting in Germany on Thursday, Foreign Ministers of the eight countries have released a communiqué demanding an end to ethnic oppression in Kosovo, the free and safe repatriation of all refugees, and free access for humanitarian organisations.


The Czech defence minister has said Europe must not tolerate the presence of a regime which expels members of its own state.

Commenting on the situation in Yugoslavia during a visit to the Avord Air Base in central France, the visiting Czech minister Vladimir Vetchy said on Thursday that his country favoured a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis and the deployment of ground troops under United Nations' auspices.

Vetchy said NATO is targeting regime of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and that the strikes are not directed against the people of Serbia. He said the Czech Republic had dispatched a field hospital to Albania, as well as material aid to 1,000 refugees.


After a six-day-long journey, a convoy of four trucks carrying Czech emergency relief aid has now arrived in the Macedonian capital Skopje. The shipment, dispatched from Brno, contained sugar, evaporated milk, cooking oil and biscuits. The aid will be distributed to Kosovo refugees by the local Mother Teresa charity, which operates in conjunction with the Czech People in Need Foundation.

The organisation's spokesman Tomas Pojar has told the CTK news agency that People in Need has previously sent over 22 million crowns' worth of humanitarian aid. Individual shipments by plane and trucks were destined for Albania, Macedonia and the Yugoslav republic of Montenegro.


Meanwhile, over 100 Kosovo Albanians have found their new homes in Bruntal in northern Moravia. An asylum home has been set up in a local hotel complex by the Ministry of the Interior.

Our regional correspondent says two busloads of refugees arrived in Bruntal on Thursday afternoon. Most of them are children and women – two of whom are pregnant. The refugees have spent two days undergoing medical checks in a refugee camp at Vysni Lhoty near the northern town of Frydek-Mistek.


Czech and Greek communist leaders are planning to discuss next weekend the war in Yugoslavia, the role of NATO, and the globalization of world politics.

Czech Communist Party leader Miroslav Grebenicek and his Greek opposite number Aleka Paparigu, who is visiting Prague, are also scheduled to address these issues at an international conference of communist and workers' parties, due to take place later this months in Athens.

The two parties are expected to present a joint statement on what they describe as a US and NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.

The Czech Communist Party is a strong vocal opponent of NATO's strikes against Yugoslavia, and of Czech membership in the Western alliance.


Croatia's ambassador to the Czech Republic says that even though his country fully supports NATO strikes against Yugoslavia, it believes that the Kosovo problem should have been tackled many years ago.

Ambassador Zoran Piculjan said on Thursday, during his meeting with the Czech Senate's Chairperson Libuse Benesova, that the problem ought to have been solved much earlier, and by other means than bombing.

Croatia's EU ambassador said last month that his country was not prepared to offer its territory for a possible NATO ground invasion of Yugoslavia.

The Croat envoy to Prague said his country fears an economic slump, due largely to the much smaller numbers of tourists visiting Croatia this year.


The first Czech-German joint venture in energy production, a coal-fired power plant, was on Thursday commissioned at Mlada Boleslav just north of Prague.

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Premier of the German state of Lower Saxony Gerhard Glogowski were on hand for the ceremonies for the plant which will produce heat and power for the local Skoda carmaker as well as heating for 10,000 homes in the city.


Thousands of pirated recordings on compact discs, audio and video tapes will go up in flames on Monday morning as part of a campaign against copyright violators, run by the Czech branch of the International Federation of Phonographic Industries.

The counterfeit merchandise has been confiscated by the police, the IFPI and the National Anti-Piracy Association.

IFPI's Jaromir Soukup on Thursday told the CTK news agency that the seized haul will be disposed of using advanced environment-friendly methods. They will be crushed and then burned in one of the plants which supply heat to Prague.

Our correspondent says that altogether, more than 50,000 copies will end up at the stake. He says the Czech Republic is emerging as one of the world's bigger producers of pirated CDs and cassettes. Earlier this year, police in the North Moravian city of Ostrava discovered a clandestine CD-forging plant, whose operation is said to have caused millions of crowns of damages owing to the nonpayment of copyright fees.


And finally, a quick look at the weather. On Friday, we expect to see rather cloudy skies with some scattered showers. Night-time lows from four to eight degrees Celsius, daytime highs between 16 and 20 degrees.

At the weekend, a low-pressure area will advance eastward across the Czech territory. Brace yourselves for a very wet weekend, with night-time lows between six and 10 degrees, and daytime highs on Saturday from 17 to 21 Celsius, and on Sunday, between 15 and 19 degrees.

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