News Monday, AUGUST 24th, 1998

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

Czech deputy premier Egon Lansky has criticized Radio Free Europe for not consulting with the Czech government on so sensitive a matter as the choice of location for the headquarters of the stations Arabic service to Iran and Iraq. Lansky said in an interview for Pravo that the government definitely wanted a say in a matter which concerned the safety of Czech citizens and pointed out that those living in the vicinity of the Prague 6 villa were understandably distressed about the possibility of terrorist attacks. Interior minister Grulich likewise confirmed that he had not been consulted about matters of security.

The head of the supreme Czech Auditing Institute Lubomir Volejnik has expressed concern with regard to the number of privatization cases the government wants it to review within its Clean Hands campaign to fight corruption. The Cabinet has a list of twenty six allegedly dubious privatization cases it wants the Auditing Institute to investigate as soon as possible and the list is said to be far from complete. In response to this demand Volejnik said the premier was naive if he though the Institute could handle that kind of commission in so short a time, and pointed out that as an independent institution it could refuse to accept some of these cases. The fate of the Social Democrats' Clean Hands campaign, which helped them win the elections, is therefore uncertain.

The Rolling Stones treated Czechs to what the ctk newsagency has described as a smashing concert on Saturday night .The single concert in Prague was part of their Bridges to Babylon tour. An addition to songs from their latest album, the Stones played some of their old hits, such as Honky Tonk Woman, Start Me Up and Sympathy for the Devil. Mick Jaggar greeted the crowd in Czech and sent good wishes to president Havel who is recovering from surgery at a Prague hospital.

A Czech court has sent three firemen to jail for arson. The firemen admitted they had intentionally set houses ablaze on a number of occasions and then arrived on the spot to put out the fires. The reason cited was that after a night of action they'd get the next day off. They received jail sentences of six and three and a half years for endangering the lives of 25 innocent people and causing millions of crowns worth of damage.

And finally a look at the weather: after the tropical heatwave we enjoyed here in Central Europe, today's cold wind and 16 to 20 deg.temps are something of a shock. A cold front from the north-west is expected to bring more rain and grey skies in the next few days, so it seems that the summer is now well and truly over.