News Monday, DECEMBER 14th, 1998

Welcome to Radio Prague. Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.


Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has said that his country is from an economic point of view the strongest of the 11 candidates for EU enlargement.

Speaking to reporters in Vienna after Saturday's talks with Austrian President Thomas Klestil, Mr Zeman said that although Prague had been criticised from Brussels, his government had supplied the EU with detailed answers and was trying to speed up the process of eliminating weak spots from its economy.

Zeman said that the date of his country's accession to the EU was less important than the process of harmonisation with European legislation and changes in the economic structure.


More than two thirds of the Czech population consider the EU's criticism of the slow pace of their country's preparations for membership fair and legitimate. This according to a public opinion survey conducted late last month by the Sofres-Factum polling agency. Its outcomes were published on Sunday.

The EU's latest report criticised the Czech government's policy on granting citizenship rights, the situation of the country's Roma ethnic minority, and a slow pace of restructuring in the corporate sphere.


Police in southern Prague are investigating an explosion which early on Sunday wrecked an electronics shop on the busy Plzenska Street in the Smichov area.

Prague police spokesman Josef Sulcek told reporters that an unidentified explosive device, which may have been triggered by remote control, had caused widespread damage and shattered hundreds of windows in the area.

There were no casualties.


Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has said relations between his country and the Czech Republic will be further strengthened when Prague has entered the European Union.

Speaking on Sunday at an academic session at Prague's Charles University, the Spanish premier highlighted the need to build a Europe without internal borders, which would be open to the exchange of ideas and allow for the free movement of people.


Czech President Vaclav Havel is leaving for a three-week holiday in Northern Africa next week, after he was recommended by his doctors to take some rest.

The 62-year-old president is suffering from a chronic lung problem. Two years ago, he underwent a surgery in Prague to remove a cancerous growth on his lungs and had a part of his left lung removed.

The former chain smoker has suffered also from a number of other health complaints.


On the third Sunday of the Advent, public service Czech Television joined hundreds of TV stations all over the world for the international project called Children's Broadcasting Day.

Most of the station's normal Sunday programming was replaced by shows hosted by young children.

This year's keynote of this UNICEF-sponsored project was: "The World and How Kids View It".


Now the weather report: Ice on roads in eastern Bohemia and Moravia caused large traffic disruptions, many accidents and injuries on slippery sidewalks on Sunday. And if you plan to go skiing in the next few days beware of those giant icicles hanging from mountain chalet roofs. They may be quite dangerous.

Monday will be a cloudy and very windy day with scattered showers coming from the west. Daytime highs between one and five deg