News Monday, MAY 15th, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik, and we start the programme with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.


Four players from the Czech Republic, who retained the world ice hockey championship on Sunday by beating Slovakia 5-3 in St Petersburg, have been named in the tournament's all-star team.

Goaltender Roman Cechmanek, defenceman Michal Sykora, centre Jiri Dopita and left winger Tomas Vlasak occupied four of the six places in the first unit.

Cechmanek's appearance on the list ended the three-year reign of Sweden's Tommy Salo as all-star netminder and Slovakia's Miroslav Satan, the championship's leading scorer, is the only NHL player on the list.

Here in Prague, thousands of people filled the historic Old Town Square to capacity, watching the final match on a giant television screen.

The winning Czech team is expected to arrive in Prague later in the day.


The financially troubled Czech Komercni Bank is facing a lawsuit which effectively prevents the banking giant from doing business pending trial.

A minor shareholder, Jakub Sedlacek, is suing the bank for alleged irregularities in the period before its planned privatisation.

The bank's spokesperson said on Sunday that Komercni was losing money because of the lawsuit.

The bank was previuously said to have lost almost eight billion crowns owing to a failed transaction with the Austrian company B.C.L. Trading, with which it started doing business four years ago.


The Czech Ministry of Defence is holding urgent talks with the finance and trade portfolios with the aim of rescheduling its payment timetable for the new subsonic aircraft the Czech Air Force should start obtaining later in the year.

The Defence Minister, Vladimir Vetchy said on Sunday the rescheduling was vital because of the crown's falling exchange rate to the U.S. dollar. He said the dollar bought just under 31 crowns at the time the Air Force signed a contract three years ago for the delivery of 72 ALCA advanced light combat aircraft, developed by the Czech company Aero Vodochody. He said that today Czechs were paying nearly 41 crowns for one dollar.

Our defence correspondent says the Czech Air Force badly needs advanced new planes to replace its aging Soviet-vintage fleet of ground attack fighters.


The health condition of a 50-year-old man from Most in northern Bohemia, who was bitten by a viper on Thursday, is not improving and he remains in a critical condition, according to doctors at the Most Hospital's intensive care unit.

The man has been administered a vaccine which was two weeks past its warranty period at the time because of a shortage of anti-bite drugs throughout the Czech Republic. The issue has been widely publicised in the Czech media.

Our correspondent says no Czech producer is currently able to supply snake bite antidote and hospitals here rely on one-off deliveries from abroad. But according to the latest reports, the Most hospital on Sunday received a fresh supply of the vaccine.


The lower house of the Czech Parliament is preparing to debate legislation which would allow the return of assets and property confiscated from Czech Jews and their organisations during the Nazi occupation of this country in World War II.

Our correspondent says the bill is very likely to be passed smoothly because of a consensus that runs across the Czech political spectrum.

The bill envisages the return of all state-owned property seized from Jewish individuals, foundations and organisations in the period from September 1938 to May 1945.


The conducting competition held as a side event of the current Prague Spring International Music Festival was won on Sunday by the Czech-speaking Canadian Charles Olivieri-Munroe of Toronto, who studied music in Brno in the early 1990s.

Monday's programme includes a solo recital of the American pianist Garrick Ohlsson in Prague's Rudolfinum Concert Hall. Mr. Ohlsson, who has often performed in the Czech Republic, is an internationally recognised authority on Frederic Chopin.


And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather, which is causing much concern here in the Czech Republic. It has not rained for nearly two months in some parts of the country and many farmers fear the resulting drought could ruin them.

The weatherman says no rain can be expected for at least one more week. Monday will be another warm day with daytime highs between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius, dropping to between 10 and 14 degrees in the night.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, hot southern air will continue to pour into the Czech Republic in advance of a cold front which hopefully could bring the much-needed rain. Daytime highs on both days will be between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius, nighttime lows between 12 and 16 degrees.

I'm Libor Kubik and that's the news.