News Monday, AUGUST 17th, 1998

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Radio Prague E News Written / Read by: Pauline Newman Date: 17.8.98

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. I'm Pauline Newman, first let's take a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to Radio Prague. I'm Pauline Newman, those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the news in full:

Zeman / Germany

Czech Premier Milos Zeman spoke out on Sunday on the controversial topic of Czech - German relations. He said he does not want to increase the tension or in any way add to what he called "the pre- election hysteria" taking place in Germany.

Relations between the two states have been hampered in recent weeks by Zeman's comments on Sudeten Germans and the subsequent retort from Chancellor Helmut Kohl, that the Czech Premier is involving himself in Germany's pre-election campaign.

Milos Zeman speaking in a live debate on Czech television, said it would be better to wait with any further statements until the elections have ended in Germany. "It goes without saying, that Prague will work with any government to come out of the elections" he commented, adding that his remarks about the Sudeten German Landsmanschaft have been misunderstood and that consequently he does not intend to apologise.

Klaus / Vote

ODS Chairman Vaclav Klaus has rejected calls to block the forthcoming vote of confidence in the government. He said these demands were "ridiculous" and assured journalists that all members of the ODS would support the policy statement of the new Social Democrat government.

This comes after the right wing Freedom Union party and the Democratic Union over the weekend, called on members of Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, the ODS to stop the Social Democrat government passing its vote of confidence by staying in the room and voting against.

The ODS and the Social Democrats signed an agreement after the elections, whereby Klaus's party will tolerate the government. Under the terms of the deal, the ODS will not try to bring the government down. This means that it is enough for members of the party to leave the room when the vote takes place.

On Saturday, the Freedom Union announced that the Social Democrat government policy is very dangerous since it will burden the next generation with debts. Freedom Union leader Jan Ruml, called on the ODS to behave responsibly, saying his party rejects the agreement signed between Klaus and Premier Milos Zeman. He called it an irresponsible experiment, relying upon the failure of the government, which the ODS expects to profit from, at the expense of the country.

Although Vaclav Klaus has said that all ODS members will abstain from voting there have been some who have suggested that they may stay vote against the government. Klaus has termed this "unfortunate" and considers it a break in party solidarity.

Government / 1968

Members of the Czech government are preparing to attend the opening of the August 1968 exhibition on Tuesday.

The exhibition which is taking place in the small park near the Malastrana Underground station, looks back at the events of 1968, when Warsaw pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia.

Cestmir Cisar, who was the Chairman of the Czech National Council will be present, so will the son of Alexander Dubcek, the then Czechoslovak leader.

Many photographs and newspaper clippings will be on display as well as hitherto unseen authentic documents.

Havel / Health

Doctors said on Sunday morning that Czech President Vaclav Havel is recovering nicely after his recent operation and subsequent breathing complications. They declined however, to give a precise date as to when they would bring him off the tracheostomy.

Bohumil Limberk, who is a member of the President's team of doctors said Vaclav Havel's rehabilitation programme is to remain the same, and admitted that the tracheostomy which is helping Havel breathe, would be removed in the near future.

The President is said to be walking around, following current affairs and is in good spirits.

Vaclav Havel underwent an intestinal operation on the 26 July, which triggered off breathing problems. The tracheostomy, an incision into the neck, is keeping his air passages clear.

Food / Celebrations

Finally, the food lovers among you, may be interested in a celebration which took place on Saturday afternoon in Prague.

Cooks and bakers all over the Czech Republic attended a big cultural festival at Prague's Vystaviste, to celebrate St Vavrinec Day. St Vavrinec or St. Lawrence being the Patron Saint of all cooks and bakers.

Eating and drinking races took place, as well as various attempts at breaking world records in cooking.

And we end as usual, with a quick look at the weather:

Monday will see the return of last week's high temperatures which will peak at about 31 degrees celsius. Skies however will be cloudy at times, with the possibility of scattered showers or thunderstorms towards the night when temperatures will drop to 17 degrees celsius.

I'm Pauline Newman and that's the end of the news.