News Friday, MAY 21st, 1999

Radio Prague Enews Written/read by: Rob Cameron Date: 21/5/99

Hello and welcome to the programme. I´m Rob Cameron, first a look at the main news stories.

Those are the headlines, now for a look at the news in more detail.

Havel taken to hospital as condition worsens

President Vaclav Havel has been taken to hospital with a viral chest infection and a fever. The 62-year-old president had been recovering well from the virus, but his condition worsened unexpectedly on Thursday and doctors decided on hospital treatment. The president´s spokesman said Havel would begin a course of antibiotics immediately. Havel, a former chain-smoker, has been plagued by serious illness in recent years. Last summer, he contracted pneumonia following surgery to remove a colostomy bag he was fitted with when his large intestine ruptured in April 1998.

Two Communist-era policemen sentenced over 1989 demonstration

Two former members of the Communist-era police force have been given prison sentences for abuse of power during a student demonstration in November 1989. The violent suppression of the demonstration triggered wider protests that led to the overthrow of the communist regime several days later. A regional court in the South Bohemian town of Tabor sentenced Michal Danisoviè to three-and-a-half years in jail for commanding the police assault against the demonstration, which was held in Prague's Narodni Street. Danisoviè's deputy, Bedøich Houbal, received a three-year suspended sentence and was put on probation for four years. Both men have appealed the decision. The two convictions were among the few cases where officials have been held responsible for the events that triggered the revolution.

Austrian government to draw up Temelin aciton plan

The Austrian government says it is to draw up a plan of action to fight the completion of the controversial Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia. A spokesman told reporters that possible measures against Temelin were still being discussed, but he said they could involve the European Union. The decision followed a resolution by the Austrian parliament on Wednesday, which called on the government to toughen its stance over the issue. The Czech government announced last week that Temelin would be completed by the year 2000, ignoring protests from environmental groups and Austria, which borders the Czech Republic. Senate chairwoman Libuse Benesova said on Thursday that Austria could not force the Czech government to change its mind on Temelin, while lower house chairman Vaclav Klaus said he was shocked by the Austrian Parliament´s resolution.

Judge releases suspected drugs gang bosses after receiving promise

Two men accused of heading an international heroin-smuggling gang have been released from custody, after promising a judge that they would not commit any further crimes. The two men were arrested on May 13, as part of an international police operation aimed at breaking up the heroin trade. Czech police and customs officials had been monitoring the two men, one of whom is from Yugoslavia, for more than a year. Police say the men had begun threatening witnesses and trying to influence the investigation before they were arrested. Despite this the chief judge at Liberec regional court defended her colleague´s decision, saying that he had acted within the bounds of the law. The state prosecutor has said he may file an official complaint.

Murder suspect shot dead by police

Police have shot dead a Prague man accused of murder. A spokeswoman said the man was shot dead on Thursday morning after pulling a gun on officers as they approached his car. The man had been accused of murdering a twenty-two- year-old woman in the Prague 5 district on Tuesday.


Finally a quick look at the weather for the next few days, and I´m afraid the weekend will remain mostly cloudy with rain in places. Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 18 degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to around 10 degrees at night.

That´s all from the newsroom, from me, Rob Cameron goodbye