News Monday, FEBRUARY 16th, 1998

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Radio Prague E-News date: February 16th, 1997 written and read by: Daniela Lazarova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Daniela Lazarova and we begin as usual with a look at the main newsstories this hour

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

ODA conference

Meeting in the wake of a serious party financing scandal the Civic Democratic Alliance /ODA/ has urged its deputy chairman, Miroslav Toser, to resign from office. The weekend party conference gave Toser a week to act of his own accord and either ask to be suspended until the matter was cleared up or to resign. Toser has refused to give up his post but is reportedly considering asking for suspension. It was also agreed that as of now the ODA's advisory board would be required to approve all donations over 100.000 Czech crowns.

Havel -health

President Vaclav Havel who was admitted to hospital with a viral infection last Thursday is reported to be doing well. Doctors say his temperature is back to normal, his appetite is good and he spends most of his time watching newscasts, reading papers and books. On Sunday evening the President received a visit from Prime Minister Tosovsky. They are said to have discussed the credibility crisis of the ODA but no official statement was released of the meeting. The president's medical team intends to bring forward a planned operation to remove a small fistula which appeared after his post-op tracheotomy in 1996 and which doctors believe may be the cause of the president's frequent bouts of bronchitis. The operation , which should take no longer than 20 minutes, has been described as risk-free plastic surgery. The president is to undergo it as soon as he fully recovers from this illness.

Senators arrive in Moscow

On a working visit to the Baltic states a delegation of Czech senators assured Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that the Czech republic would do everything in its power to help them integrate with Western structures if and when they were prepared to do so. Chairman of the Senate Petr Pithart said in a speech to these countries' parliaments that the Czech republic, which is one of the three front-runners expected to gain entry to NATO in 1999, would not forget the security concerns of other former Russian satellites. "We will be happy to share our experience and know-how as well as advocate your cause" Pithart told his hosts. The Czech delegation has now arrived in Moscow at the start of five days of talks. Bilateral relations and the country's projected accession to NATO will be high on the agenda. The sensitive issue of re-introducing visa restrictions for Russian citizens is also expected to be brought up. "Our relations with Russia have cooled visibly since the 1989 revolution but we are aiming for constructive talks" Petr Pithart told the ctk newsagency.

Sport

In Nagano the Czech hockey team crushed Kazakhstan 8:2 with four goals in the third period Sunday. The team now faces a Monday showdown with Russia to determine the top seeding in their Olympic C-group. The victory over Kazakhstan was a second win for the Czech team. Goal- tender Dominik Hasek made 22 saves and Martin Rucinsky scored twice in an ill-tempered match in which physical play by Kazakhstan degenerated into stick swinging and open hostility. Blows were exchanged and some blood was spilt, although the players went through the traditional hand-shaking ritual at the end of the penalty-filled affair.

Incidentally, Czech hokey star Jaromir Jagr turned 26 on Sunday . He told Reuters he didn't really celebrate at all -he was totally focused on hockey. " The only present I received today was the win, but it's enough. Actually, a win tomorrow against Russia would be the best present " he added.

And finally a look at the weather - Monday will be overcast with occasional drizzle and day temps between 10 and 14 degs C. A cold front, coming from the north-west is expected to reach us late Monday or early Tuesday bringing more rain or sleet showers and lower temperatures .