News Monday, MAY 11th, 1998

Radio Prague E News Written / Read by: Pauline Newman Date: 11. 5. 98

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. I'm Pauline Newman first let's a take a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to Radio Prague. Those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the news in full...

Havel / Recovery

The head of President Vaclav Havel's team of doctors Miroslav Cerbak said over the weekend, that Mr Havel's health is improving. He added that the President is going for walks with his wife and taking an interest in current affairs.

Vaclav Havel is in hospital after undergoing an operation while on holiday in Austria. Mr Cerbak said the President could be released round about next Wednesday or Thursday.

Doctors say that unlike in the past, they want to make sure that this time Vaclav Havel does not have his recovery period interrupted. A Presidential spokesman told journalists on Sunday that Mr Havel's official engagements have been cancelled until the end of May.

Interior Minister Cyril Svoboda and Social Democrat MP Jaroslav Basta, both said on Sunday that Vaclav Havel will have to play a decisive role in the post election period. They agreed that the President is a stabilising force on the Czech political scene.

Sladek / Romanies

No-one has been charged by police after leader of the far right Republicans, Miroslav Sladek was attacked on Saturday evening by Romanies in a Bohemian town near Ceska Lipa.

After a party meeting, a scuffle broke out between Sladek and local romanies, who say the Republican leader provoked and insulted them with his speech. A Romany spokesman said: "Sladek was arrogant, he insulted our President and his wife, he even dragged Premier Tosovsky into his speech". He added that some of the women present were so shocked they started to cry.

Investigators say a group of Romanies called out to Sladek to stop talking, when he refused they attacked his bodyguards and then him. Mr Sladek was hit several times and pushed onto the pavement. The police had to disperse the crowd by firing a gun. Doctors say the Republican leader was scarcely injured.

Candidate lists / Elections

Fifteen political parties and movements have sent their candidate lists to the Czech Parliament in the run up to the June elections. They had until midnight, Sunday night. All eight regions decided to submit fifteen political parties.

Czech / Hockey

Olympic champions, the Czech Republic and runners up Russia battled to a 2-2 draw in their group at the world Ice Hockey Championships on Sunday.

The Czechs with five points from three games are assured of a place in the semi-finals. Just as in Nagano, the two teams fought a scoreless but entertaining period. Goals on the Czech side were scored by Pavel Patera and Jiri Dopita. Russian Oleg Petro brought it up to 1-1 and Dmitri Yuskevich tied the game five minutes into the final period.

Agreement / Neighbours

The proposal for an agreement between the Czech Republic and her Slovak and Austrian neighbours on mutual co-operation will be discussed by the Czech cabinet on Monday.

It is expected that the agreement will outline various emergency situations such as natural disasters or problems at the border. During any life threatening situations, help given by any of these states to neighbouring citizens should be free of charge.

The Czech Republic is set to close agreements of this kind with Germany and Poland in the near future.

Survey / Elections

According to a recent survey, three quarters of the Czech electorate expect the opposition Social democrats to win the forthcoming June elections. Most of them however, do not expect a Social Democrat victory to change the situation in the country.

70 percent of those asked, said they were not afraid of a Social Democrat government, and 66 percent did not think a return to socialism is likely to happen.

People who were most sceptical about the consequences of a Social Democrat government were supporters of the Freedom Union and the Civic Democratic Party.

The survey also revealed that voters would like to see the difference between rich and poor people in the Czech Republic reduced. The Social Democrat election programme promises to close this gap by clamping down on speculators and economic crime.

Skinheads / Indians

Five skinheads who attacked two Indians on Friday afternoon, have been charged. Police say the skinheads aged between 17 and 22 years old, began by attacking their victims first verbally and then physically in Prague's underground.

They are facing charges of assault, disturbing public peace and violence against ethnic groups or individuals. The attack took place just before Friday's March against Fascism, organised by the anti-racist initiative on the anniversary of the Czech uprising against Nazi occupiers.

Both victims are in hospital, one is suffering from a concussion, the other has a broken nose. The skinheads were arrested on the spot.

And we end as usual with a brief look at the weather:

The hot weather we had over the weekend is set to continue through to Monday. Skies will be clear with plenty of sunshine coming our way. Temperatures will range from 27 to 30 degrees celsius dropping during the night to 12 degrees celsius.

I'm Pauline Newman and that's all from the newsroom this hour.