News Monday, APRIL 20th, 1998

Radio Prague E-news Date: April 20th, 1998 Written/read by: Daniela Lazarova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm DL and we begin as usual with a look at the main newsstories this hour

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail

Havel - update

President Havel who remains in intensive care after Saturday's endoscopic surgery is reported to be in good condition. Doctors kept him in an artificial sleep for the greater part of Saturday and Sunday in order to conserve his strength. Professor Helmut Madersbacher, medical doctor at the hospital, said the breathing problem had not complicated Havel's abdominal condition, there being no signs of further inflammation or anything of that nature. The endoscopic surgery left the president slightly feverish but his lungs are now surprisingly well ventilated and the operation showed no evidence of any tumour. All other organs are said to be functioning very well. Although the news is good, doctors are refusing to make any long term predictions since the dangerous phase after operations such as the president underwent last Tuesday generally lasts 7 to 10 days. The president is to undergo surgery again in 6 weeks to remove a tube attached to his bowel during the emergency removal of part of his large intestine.

Privatization controversy

Opposition leader Milos Zeman has defended Parliament's decision Friday to slash the budget of the National Property Fund and recall from office its deputy chairman Josef Holub and 5 board members. Social democrat, communist and republican party mps made use of the temporary absence of right-wing deputies in the assembly hall to bring this about . They also approved a resolution requesting prime minister Tosovsky's government to halt further privatization of strategic firms. The National Property Fund has proved a failure, Zeman told journalists, and in view of the upcoming elections this Cabinet no longer has a moral right to make irreversible privatization decisions which will complicate matters for its successor.

Prime Minister Tosovsky has made clear that his cabinet would go ahead with privatization plans, while the chairman of the National Property Fund has called Parliament's decision "openly destructive" and hinted that he was considering resigning from office.

Economic statistics

Czech exports to countries of the European Union in the first two months of this year have gone up by 53,2% as compared to last year's figures , totalling over 89 billion crowns. Meanwhile imports over that same period have gone up by 23%. This puts the country's foreign trade deficit at 2,5 billion crowns - down from 16,3 billion in February of 1997.

Skinhead gathering

Saturday's late night skinhead gathering in the town of Jesenik is reported to have ended without incident. Similarly as in preceding years some 100 skinheads gathered at what was ostensibly a private birthday party for one of their friends which happened to coincide with the anniversary of Hitler's birthday. Unable to ban the event on any grounds the local police chief stationed police outside the venue in order to prevent late-night disturbances. The party dispersed after 4am Sunday.


April is living up to its name this year and the next few days should be no exception. Monday should be overcast with intervals of sunshine and scattered showers. The good news is that as compared to the weekend the day should be warmer with temps between 11 and 15 degs C. Day temps are expected to climb by a further one to two degs on Tuesday.