News Monday, AUGUST 30th, 1999

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

Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail.


The newly-elected independent Senator Vaclav Fischer is shortly to file several lawsuits against Lower House Speaker Vaclav Klaus, the leader of the main-opposition Civic Democratic Party.

Fischer said on Sunday he would sue Klaus over slanderous advertisements his party reportedly published during a heated campaign for the weekend's Senate by-elections in parts of Prague. He said he would claim a large financial compensation to be donated to a charity. The party denied any wrongdoing.

Fischer, the wealthy owner of a travel agency and charter airline, won an election on Saturday for a vacant seat in the Czech Senate in a vote that could decide the fate of constitutional changes. He took 71 percent of the vote to win the Prague seat formerly held by Vaclav Benda of Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, who died.

Constitutional changes being drafted by the two largest parties -- the ruling Social Democrats along with the opposition Civic Democrats, may hinge on votes later this year in the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

With Fischer's victory, the two parties are now one seat short of the three-fifths majority required to approve the changes in the Senate.


More than three quarters of the Czechs believe that their government was slow to grant relief aid to the earthquake victims in Turkey.

In a poll conducted by STEM agency, only 15 percent of those asked said on Sunday that the Czech aid had been quick and efficient.

The Czech Republic sent a field hospital, rescuers with sniffer dogs, and truckloads of emergency aid to the epicentre of the disaster which according to the latest reports killed around 14,000 people and made 600,000 homeless.

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs complained earlier in the month that its global emergency budget amounted to only about one million U.S. dollars. It said the Czech Republic's integrated rescue system was adequate for in-country conditions but ill-suited for international relief operations.

The outcomes of the poll suggest that the conviction that the Czech aid was inadequate runs across all age groups and political beliefs.


More than 1,000 activists gathered on Sunday in the German town of Eschlkam to protest against a large chicken farm to open soon near the Czech village of Vseruby a few kilometres away. Most protesters were German but their sentiments are shared by environmental activists here in the Czech Republic.

On Friday, three protesters chained themselves to a bulldozer on the building site. Opponents say the German investors of the project plan to circumvent the European Union's laws on the protection of animals. Chickens would be kept in tight cages all their life.


The Czech Army General Staff's chief Jiri Sedivy has arrived in Pretoria at the start of his visit at the invitation of his South African opposite number, General Nyanda.

The CTK news agency reports that Sedivy is to visit military installations in Western Cape Province, and an army school and hospital, as well as to get acquainted with the organising structure of the South African armed forces.

Our correspondent says the two parties will also discuss cooperation in international peace-keeping operations.


The Social Democrat government plans to review the two-year-old decision by the previous conservative cabinet of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus to close seven embassies because of budget cuts.

The Czech news agency CTK said on Sunday that the government would discuss the opening of two new diplomatic posts in the former Soviet republics of Estonia and Georgia.

Two years ago, the government planned to close the Czech embassies in Albania, Jordan, Latvia, Libya, Senegal, Uruguay and Yemen.


Former Christian Democrat leader Josef Lux, who has leukaemia, arrived in the United States on Sunday to receive a bone marrow transplant at a clinic in Seattle.

The operation, in which the bone marrow of an Italian donor will be used, is tentatively scheduled for September 20 and is to be preceded by a series of medical checks and chemotherapy sessions.

The costs will be covered partly by the Czech General Health Insurance Company and partly by the patient himself.

Lux -- a former agriculture minister -- resigned as the leader of the opposition Christian Democrats and relinquished his other posts nearly one year ago, after publicly announcing his serious health condition.


And finally, a look at the weather in the Czech Republic.

On Monday, we expect morning fogs in the valleys and some slight rainfall in the areas where the skies will remain overcast. Afternoon highs between 21 and 25 Celsius.

On Tuesday, a high-pressure area will bring us another misty morning and early morning temperatures in the vicinity of 12 degrees. Daytime highs between 23 and 27 Celsius.

Wednesday's highs will be from 21 to 25 degrees.

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