News Monday, JULY 26th, 1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Mertlik: taxes must go up

The newly appointed finance minister Pavel Mertlik believes it will be necessary to further increase consumer tax, although not in the short-term. Mertlik argues that an increase in the consumer tax is necessary to compensate for lower tax revenues which are due to the transfer of part of profits to other countries. He also said that the basic problem lies in the system that makes various forms of tax evasion possible. This is why the government intends to establish the so-called financial police.

Gregr satisfied with Temelin

Industry and trade minister Miroslav Gregr is satisfied with the progress of the construction of the nuclear power station at Temelin. Gregr said after a four-hour visit to the construction site that he believed that the power station would operational on schedule and the costs would not exceed the planned amount. Earlier this year, Gregr managed to convince the cabinet that the controversial project should be completed and swore that if the costs or date of completion are exceeded, he would resign. The date of completion of the Temelin power station has been postponed and the total costs increased several times in the past.

Slovak premier visits Czech Republic

Slovak premier Mikulas Dzurinda paid a brief visit to the Czech Republic at the weekend. He hinted that progress in the division of former Czechoslovak federal property can be expected in the coming weeks. Dzurinda admitted that the issue is not very easy to solve, but stressed that the division of formerly joint property should not dominate the relations between the two neighbouring countries. He also described the Czech-Slovak mutual relations as privileged.

Security action continues

Czech police are still guarding US buildings in Prague. The police have taken strict security measures to protect the United States embassy and Radio Free Europe upon an anonymous terrorist threat. Police armed with automatic rifles and wearing bulletproof vests are guarding the buildings and check cars passing-by. No details have been disclosed. This is the second security threat to these institutions this year. In February, the embassies of the United States and Great Britain had to be temporarily closed because of a terrorist threat.

Czechs see GSM licence winner investing $250 mln

The Czech government expects the winner of the tender for a third GSM mobile phone licence to invest at least 250 million USD in the network and employ at least 2,000 Czech people. The Transport and Communications Ministry said in a statement that so far there were 13 "serious bidders" in the tender for the country's first 1,800 megahertz mobile phone licence. The tender began on July 12 and is scheduled to be closed on August 17. The winner will compete with the current two GSM operators who use the 900 MHz standard.

The applicants include a consortium of Norwegian national operator Telenor and the privately-owned Czech company Aliatel, a joint venture of British mobile telephone operator Orange and Czech GiTy Holding, a venture combining France Telecom and Czech paging company Radiokontakt Operator, U.S.- based Western Wireless International, French Vivendi with German Mannesman, and a group made up of Canada's Telesystem International Wireless and the Czech bank IPB. Detailed information about the progress of the tender is to be released next Wednesday.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. On Monday weather in the Czech Republic will be influenced by a high pressure area from North-West. We are expecting a partially cloudy day, afternoon highs should range from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius. Tuesday and Wednesday should be much the same -- partially cloudy with highets daytime temperatures between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.