News Monday, AUGUST 09th, 1999

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


The public initiative Impulse 99 in which hundreds of Czech intellectuals have signed an appeal for decency and common sense in politics seems to be on the collision track after two people claimed at the weekend they never signed it.

Supreme Court President Eliska Wagnerova said that although she sympathised with the appeal against political arrogance, her public status in judiciary effectively made it impossible for her to sign the document. Her name but not her signature was included in the list published on the internet.

In a related incident, Radio Free Europe's Yvonne Prenosilova says she only signed a shortened version of the manifesto and her status of journalist working for a public-service broadcasting organisation effectively precludes her signing the document.

Impulse 99 is an initiative group resolved to provoke public discussion on problems its signatories believe are being neglected in the Czech Republic.


The ruling Social Democrats' deputy chairperson Petra Buzkova on Sunday blamed the growing approval ratings of the unreformed Communist Party on the non-aggression pact between her party and the main-opposition Civic Democrats.

She said in a discussion programme on private TV Prima that some members of both parties do not take lightly the rapprochement between the two former rivals.

Recent polls show that the Communist now enjoy 20-percent approval ratings.


The Czech Republic's Social Democrat Prime Minister Milos Zeman met his Slovenian counterpart Janez Drnovsek at the end of his seaside holiday in the former Yugoslav republic to lobby for that country's more forthcoming attitude towards the biggest Czech investment project in Slovenia -- a paper mill in the town of Krsko.

Our correspondent says that Slovenian authorities are reluctant to waive a 90 million German mark additional tax levied on the Czech project.


The Czech Ministry of Health has warned citizens to protect their eyes when watching the total eclipse of the sun on Wednesday. It said warning was the only thing it could do for want of funds to finance far-reaching health safety measures and the mass purchase of special protective glasses.

Our correspondent says that France is giving away for free up to 11 million glasses to senior citizens and children in summer camps.

Eye specialist Petr Soucek from the Vinohrady Royal Hospital in Prague said on Sunday it was sad to see the government sit idly and do nothing to prevent large segments of the population from the risk that watching the eclipse without protective aids might incur.

The eclipse will be 98 percent in most parts of the Czech Republic, which is only a few miles away from the 100-kilometre-wide total-eclipse belt stretching across most of Europe.

Meanwhile, astronomers from the Brno Observatory warned the public on Sunday not to buy protective goggles from street vendors peddling merchandise of dubious quality.


Reports from Austria say a Czech driver has caused grievous bodily harm to two gendarmes working on the site of a road accident on a highway near the town of Elditz.

The Austrian news agency APA on Sunday quoted the country's chief automobile club as saying the Czech was too late to spot a roadblock and his car caused heavy injuries to both officers, who are being treated in hospital.

The agency said the highway had to be closed for several hours, causing huge pileups. It gave no details about the Czech driver.


Students from five European countries on Sunday finished cleaning and refurbishing a Jewish cemetery in the village of Miroslav near the South Moravian town of Znojmo.

Our correspondent says 19 young Czechs, together with their colleagues from Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Slovakia, have spent 40 hours each to clean rubble and meet those who promote Jewish cultural values, including writer Ivan Klima, Brno-based artist Wolf Spitzbart and playwright Milan Uhde.

The Miroslav Jewish cemetery's oldest tombstones date from the late 17th century.


Now for a look at the weather.

On Monday, very hot air will continue to pour into the Czech Republic from the south. Apart from scattered showers and thunderstorms, we are promised daytime highs between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius, but also some morning fogs -- the sure sign of the autumn approaching.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a low pressure area will spoil the act and during Wednesday, a cold front will bring us lots of rain and will send the thermometer tumbling down to a more bearable 27 Celsius.

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