News Monday, MARCH 08th, 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.

Environmentalists welcome report on Temelin

Environmental experts have welcomed the conclusions made by an expert commission set up to assess economic aspects of the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant. Former environement minister Martin Bursik who initiated the assesment, said the commission fulfilled its task and revealed new facts which will enable the government to judge well the final decision on the completion of the plant. The expert commission which was set up by the Czech government to asses economic aspects of the completion of Temelin, said in its report that the completion of the controversial nuclear power plant is connected with such risks that stopping its construction would be better than any variant of its completion. According to commission member and environment minister advisor Dalibor Strasky, the most surprising conclusion is that the Czech Republic will not need any new sources of electricity until at least the year 2010. The analysis also states that halting the construction of Temelin would not make its constructor, the energy giant CEZ, go bankrupt, as the company previously claimed.

Klaus calls for political concensus

Senior opposition Civic Democrat leader, lower house speaker and a former premier Vaclav Klaus has called for a political concensus on finding a solution to the current unfavourable economic situation. Klaus said in a televised debate on private TV Prima on Sunday that such a consensus had been missing in the Czech Republic for at least fife years. He also criticized the Czech National Bank's approach. In his opinion, the Central bank should refrain from its tight monetary policy. "If we want to have the lowest inflation in the world, we have to reckon with massive unemployment," said Klaus who sees the overly restrictive monetary policy of the Czech National Bank as the main cause of the economic decline. The former premier also admitted that some state interventions in the industrial sector might be necessary.

Zeman goes to Germany to boost mutual relations

Premier Zeman leaves for an official visit to Germany on Monday to discuss European integration and compenasations for Czech World War II forced labourers. The visit is expected to bring progress in solving Czech-German issues. Germany is currently presiding the European Union and premier Zeman will inform German officials about the Czech Republic's progress in its preparations for joining the EU. At the weekend, Zeman praised the German government for their effort to provide compensations to people who were forced to work for German companies during World War II. Zeman also said that he plans to encourage German investment in the Czech Republic.

Czechs commemorate their first president

Top Czech officials have commemorated the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk who was born 149 years ago on Sunday. President Vaclav Havel and premier Milos Zeman laid wreaths and flowers at Masaryk's grave in Lany. Celebrations were also held in Masaryk's hometown Hodonin and other Czech and Moravian towns and cities. Masaryk is one of the leading personnalities connected witht the establishment of an independent Czecholsovak state in 1918. Masaryk was born on 7th of March 1850 in the South-Moravian town of Hodonin. He held the office of Czechoslovak president from 1918 to 1935 when he resigned for health reasons. Masaryk was always respected as a moral authority and remains one of the most prominent figures in Czech history.

Czech weather report

And finally, a quick look at the weather. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.