News Monday, NOVEMBER 09th, 1998

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Welcome to the programme. Those were the main points, now the news in full, read by Alena Skodova:

Havel - TV

President Vaclav Havel told Czech TV on Sunday that he sees a European Commission report, which criticises the Czech Republic's preparedness for EU membership, as a valid warning. The president fears, however, that fast approval of all necessary laws and amendments might prove to be difficult because of the Czech Republic having a minority cabinet. Havel described the EU report as a kind of "tax for unnecessarily high self-esteem" during the past few years when, in his opinion, our country acted like "one of the best in the world, having the right to teach others". The president went on to stress that we must address the shortcomings noted in this report, and not waste the chance to remain in the first group of EU candidates. Commenting on domestic issues, president Havel said he thought that the Social democratic government is really serious about fighting corruption and economic crime through its "clean hands" operation. According to the Czech president, politicians should also contribute to the creation of a positive moral environment, which might boost people's interest in public matters.

Benda - Zilk - evidence

Czech senator and former Head of the Office for Investigation of Crimes of Communism, Vaclav Benda has reiterated his accusations about Vienna's former mayor Helmut Zilk having had close ties with Czechoslovak secret police, the Stb, as a prominent journalist back in the 1960s. In an interview with the Austrian weekly Format Benda said he was ready to bring the evidence to court. Late last month, Zilk was withdrawn from the list of nominees for a high Czech state distinction on the grounds that he allegedly cooperated with the Stb, but he promptly denied the accusations. Senator Benda has declined to reveal where his information comes from but said it was from "reliable, secret sources in the Czech Republic". Benda noted that as a former dissident he had never betrayed anybody and added that the Czechoslovak press had always slandered him - so he could endure the present "attacks from Austria" as well.

RFE - Iran

Iran will file a lawsuit in the Hague against the United States for launching US-financed Radio Free Europe's broadcast to Iran from Prague, according to Foreign Minister Kamal Charrazi. He was quoted in the Sunday issue of the Iranian daily Abrar, and the Iranian diplomat said in the same article that his country does not need any relations with the Czech Republic. "It is not necessary to maintain contacts with the Czech Republic," Charrazi told the paper, adding that beaming these broadcasts from Prague had to be understood as a hostile act directed against his country. The minister explained that such broadcasts to Iran are considered "interfering with Teheran's internal affairs" and that they are part of a program of propaganda aimed at destabilizing Iran's Islamic regime.

Plesu in Prague

Romanian Foreign minister Andrei Plesu has arrived in Prague for a three day official visit, during which he will discuss with Czech politicians the development of mutual relations, as well as problems of wider European and Euro-Atlantic cooperation. Last Wednesday's report issued by the European Commission--which criticised both countries for their lack of preparedness to enter the European Union--will also be discussed, even though, unlike Bucharest, Prague is still one of the hottest contenders for EU membership. Today, Mr. Plesu will hold talks with his Czech counterpart Jan Kavan and will also be received by premier Milos Zeman.

Weather

Now a quick look at the weather: it will be overcast, a rainy day with snow in the mountain areas, and daytime highs will range between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.