News Monday, AUGUST 10th, 1998

Radio Prague E-News Date: August 10, 1998 Written/read by: Vladimir Tax

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Havel condemns terrorist attacks in Africa

Czech President Vaclav Havel has sharply condemned the terrorist attacks on United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In a telegram to US president Bill Clinton, Havel called for severe punishment of the terrorists and expressed his deepest sympathy for surviving relatives of the victims.

Germany - compensation

Germany will provide 200 million marks for about 18 thousand holocaust survivors from Central and Eastern Europe who have not received any compensation yet. This was agreed at the weekend by the German government and the Jewish Claims Conference. Those affected by the holocaust in former communist countries did not receive any compensation from Germany after World War II as Germany claimed that the communist regimes would steal the money.

Justice according to Motejl

Justice minister Otakar Motejl, the only minister with no party affiliation in the current cabinet, said on Sunday that the Czech justice sector will undergo thorough reconstruction, including changes in both the judiciary and the system of state attorneys. In Motejl's opinion, some of the changes could take place immediately, without amending legislation.

Deficit budget possible - Mertlik

Deputy premier for economic issues Pavel Mertlik admitted on Sunday that the Social Democrat cabinet will approve a deficit state budget for next year. This is contrary to finance minister Ivo Svoboda's previous statement that most ministers would support a balanced budget.

SocDem must increase taxes

The Social Democrat government's programme is not realistic if it is not accompanied by an increase in taxes, according to economic experts who participated in a televised debated on Sunday. In their opinion, if the government manifesto were to be realized, it would enormously increase state expenditures which would have to be covered by increased tax revenues. That is why they do not consider it a viable way to accelerate economic growth.

Temelin row continues

The ministers of environment and industry and trade, Milos Kuzvart and Miroslav Gregr, are meeting today to discuss further steps toward an independent assessment of the controversial nuclear power plant in Temelin. The previous government of Josef Tosovsky ruled that the fate of the project would be decided after an overall in-depth analysis worked out by a commission comprising both Czech and foreign nuclear energy experts. The current environment minister Milos Kuzvart insists on such an analysis, but industry and trade minister Miroslav Gregr wants to take personal responsibility for the project and would be content with a simple economic audit.

July inflation

The consumer price index in July went up 10 and a half percent year-on-year, the Czech Statistical Bureau announced on Monday. In June it was 12 percent. The so-called net inflation was 6.1 percent year-on-year.

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic reached just over 6 percent in July, which is half a percent more than the previous month, and almost two percent more than a year ago.

Havel's health satisfactory

President Vaclav Havel's health condition is still satisfactory, Havel's doctor Ilja Kotik told journalists on Sunday. Havel's breathing has improved and he can accept food orally, he said, adding that a laboratory test and an x-ray have shown that the inflamed spot in his lung is still shrinking.

German leaders overreacting due to electoral campaign -- Spidla

Critical reactions by senior German politicians to Premier Milos Zeman's comparison of Sudeten Germans to Czech political extremists were caused by the German pre-election atmosphere, Deputy Premier Vladimir Spidla said in a televised debate on Sunday.

He added that Zeman's statement was being interpreted in an aggressive way and accused the German right of "playing the nationalist card".

His opponent in the debate, Miroslav Macek from the Civic Democratic Party, said Zeman's statement was just another example of his recklessness and added that Zeman had damaged Czech national interests.

Czech weather report

And finally, a brief look at the weather. We are expecting a mostly clear day with afternoon highs from 26 to 30 degrees Celsius. Tuesday and Wednesday should be much the same as Monday, sunny with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.