News Friday, SEPTEMBER 03th, 1999

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Libor Kubik, first a look at the news headlines.

Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail.


A world conference of Jews who survived the Holocaust as children is under way in Prague. The organising body, Hidden Child, will on Friday award posthumously the prestigious title "Righteous Among the Nations" to Antonin and Emilie Holstajn who provided sanctuary to several Jewish families during the war.

The award, sponsored by Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, is intended for persons of non-Jewish origin who risked their lives by saving at least one Jew.

The conference is taking place under the auspices of Czech President Vaclav Havel.


Over 18,000 Czechs have signed a petition calling on the government to step up its support for human rights in Tibet.

The organisers said on Thursday that Prague's voice has yet to be added to the international chorus of demands that China stop violating the rights of the autonomous region which it annexed nearly half a century ago.

Our correspondent says that the Czech Foreign Ministry gave a written promise last year to raise the problem of Tibet at bilateral talks with Chinese officials.


Former Czech Foreign Minister Jozef Zieleniec on Thursday urged Prime Minister Milos Zeman and the serving Foreign Minister Jan Kavan to either apologise or present evidence to support their claim that Zieleniec, under his tenure, had contracts with media agencies in order to spruce up his public image. Premier Zeman is expected to react to Zieleniec's challenge on Friday.

At a press conference in Prague, Zieleniec did not rule out he would sue both Social Democrat politicians. He said their behaviour was the result of a political stalemate which did not make it possible for the ruling Social Democrats to attack the main opposition Civic Democratic Party, with which they have a non-aggression pact.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kavan has told Czech Radio he considers filing a suit in connection with an audit of contracts signed by the ministry in the past. But he did not say who he was going to sue. Our correspondent says the audit was supposed to find evidence to support Premier Zeman's charges against Zieleniec.

Jozef Zieleniec resigned as foreign minister two years ago, citing irregularities in the then- government Civic Democratic Party. His resignation triggered a chain of events which led to disbanding a centre-right ruling coalition and an early election.


The newly elected Senator Vaclav Fischer's airline -- Fischer Air -- is sending a third planeload of medicines, baby formula, clothes and blankets to Turkey, where a devastating earthquake killed nearly 15,000 people last month.

The relief aid was collected by the Czech Red Cross and the Humanist Alliance foundation. Fischer's planes have previously flown three similar missions to Istanbul.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday thanked the Czech Republic for its humanitarian aid and rescue workers sent to the area of last month's quake.


Christian Democrat leader Jan Kasal has asked Senate Chairperson Libuse Benesova to either resign or make an apology over her saying that a changed balance of power in the upper house will not have any effect on procedures regarding constitutional laws.

The two strongest parties -- the Social and Civic Democrats -- lost their senate majority when independent candidate Vaclav Fischer scored a landslide in a Prague by-election last weekend.

Benesova said earlier this week that the Senate is seldom complete when important laws are debated. Kasal believes she has presented Senators as lazy people, who do not do what is required from them.


Another more than one hundred Kosovo Albanian refugees will return home from the Czech Republic on Friday.

A special flight, the seventh over the past few weeks, will leave Ostrava's Mosnov Airport on Friday with 36 children, 25 women and 44 men on board.


The Czech National Bank on Thursday lowered its fourteen-day repo rate by a quarter of one percentage point, to six percent. The Lombard rate goes down from 10 to eight percent, and the discount rate goes down to 5.5 percent from the current six percent.

The Bank's council said the new rates come into effect on Friday.


The father of suspended former Czech tennis star Petr Korda says his son is too upset by his one- year ban for doping to comment on the issue for some time.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday confirmed a one-year ban on last year's Australian Open champion Korda, who tested positive for the banned substance Nandrolone at Wimbledon last year.


And finally, a look at the weather in the Czech Republic.

On Friday, we expect early morning temperatures between eight and 12 degrees Celsius and a fairy wet day, with daytime highs from 19 to 23 degrees.

The weekend will bring us a high-pressure ridge from the north east. Both days will be rather wet, I am afraid, with daytime temperatures of between 20 and 24 Celsius cooling off to around 10 degrees in the night.

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