News Monday, DECEMBER 13th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first the news headlines.

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

Czech officials welcome EU decision to be ready for enlargement by 2003

Czech officials have welcomed a decision by the European Union summit in Helsinki to be ready for enlargement by the end of 2002. The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said his country had a very real chance of joining the Union in 2003 along with fellow front-running candidates Poland and Hungary. The European Union committed itself at the weekend to completing internal reforms by the end of 2002, paving the way for expansion to begin the following year.

"Thank You, Now Get Out" decide against political party

The organisers of the "Thank you, Now Leave" petition have decided against forming a political party. The petition, which calls for Prime Minister Milos Zeman and Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus to retire from politics and for fresh elections to be held, has been signed by an estimated 170,000 people since it was drawn up one month ago. The former student leaders behind the petition met in the city of Hradec Kralove on Saturday to decide on the future of the campaign. Instead of a political party, organisers decided to remain a civic association and set up information and co-ordination centres throughout the country. A new opinion poll released by the STEM agency claimed 70 percent of the public were in favour of the petition.

Police searching for author of "Romany pogrom" leaflet

Police in the town of Prostejov are hunting for the author of a leaflet calling on citizens of the town to take part in a pogrom against a settlement of Romanies believed to be responsible for an outbreak of hepatitis. The leaflets, entitled "For a Clean Prostejov", recently appeared in the town centre and one was sent to the town´s mayor. The leaflets call on citizens to volunteer for an attack on the Romany settlement, as well a hunt for Roma children. Police say so far no-one has responded to the leaflets.

Skromach calls on Civic Democrats to clarify support for budget

The deputy chairman of the ruling Social Democrats, Zdenek Skromach, has called on the main opposition Civic Democrats to clarify their support for the 2000 budget. The government´s second draft budget was defeated on Wednesday, after the Civic Democrats, who keep the minority Social Democrat government afloat under a unique power-sharing pact, withdrew their support. Mr Skromach also said a highly critical letter to Prime Minister Zeman from Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus indicated the days of the power-sharing agreement could be numbered.

Government to discuss legalising prostitution

The government is to discuss legalising prostitution. The Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich is to submit draft legislation to the cabinet on Monday which would see prostitutes registered and subject to regular medical checks. Mr Grulich says regulation would outlaw street prostitution, reduce crime and bring in millions of crowns in tax revenues.

Civic Democrat M.P. involved in serious road accident

The Civic Democrat M.P. Libor Jezek has been involved in a serious road accident near Prague. Mr Jezek is said to have a caused a collision on Friday afternoon in which one person was seriously injured. Police said Mr Jezek, who escaped unhurt, had apparently been drinking before the accident.


And I´ll end as usual with a quick look at Tuesday´s weather forecast. And it will be a mild and cloudy day in the Czech Republic, with rain in places. Daytime temperatures will reach 5 degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to zero at night.

I'm Rob Cameron and that's the end of the news.