News Monday, NOVEMBER 16th, 1998

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and we begin with a brief newsbulletin. First the headlines.

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

Havel calls on voters to vote in Senate polls second round

President Vaclav Havel has thanked those who went to the polls and called on all voters to take part in the second round of the Senate elections this week. Havel said that the results confirmed that the role of political parties was declining with local and independent candidates being more successful in the smaller towns and villlages. In the large cities local policy is more anonymous and the citizens make their choice according to parties rather than personalities, president Havel said.

Rabbi criticizes politicians

Prague Rabbi Karol Sidon has criticized political representatives for inconsistency in fighting racism. In connection with the recent racially motivated attempted murder of a soldier of Jewish origin, Sidon also condemned the reluctancy of the general public to report racially motivated offences and crimes. In Sidon's opinion, it is only a question of time before the neo-nazi skinheads' aggression against people with a different colour of skin turns against other minorities as well.

CSSD officially joins boycott of SPT Telecom

The ruling Social Democratic Party will join the boycott of the telecommunications monopoly SPT Telecom planned for November 18. Social Democrat official Stepan Kotrba said the party would officially join the protest against SPT Telecom's plan to raise phone call tariffs, which is also expected to negatively affect the use of the Internet in the Czech Republic. The Social Democratic Party stated that disapproves of the exclusive contract which former economy minister Karel Dyba, signed with Telecom and which guarantees SPT's monopoly until the year 2000.

Dienstbier compares Czech election campaign to the U.S.

According to former Czech foreign minister Jiri Dienstbier, the election campaign before the local and Senate elections in the Czech Republic was very similar to the recent Congress and governor elections in the United States . Dienstbier, who is now a U.N. human rights envoy to Yugoslavia, said that scandals had prevailed in the campaigns of both countries and had an effect upon the relatively low turnouts.

Man Who Committed Suicide was German

The man who committed suicide on Friday afternoon by jumping under an underground train in Prague was a 45-year old employee of the German embassy. Prague police reported that the man had left a suicide note. Prague subway line A was closed for more than an hour on Friday afternoon due to the tragedy.

British citizen slightly injured by skins in underground

A British citizen was slightly injured in the Prague Metro by a group of five neo-nazi skinheads. The police reported that 36-year-old man, who was black, was attacked by a group of young men who taunted him with racially abusive language, beat him up and kicked him out of the train at the next stop, leaving him lying on the platform.

Trade surplus

The Czech Republic has recorded a growing trade surplus with Germany. The Czech Statistical Office reported that over the first nine months of this year, the trade surplus exceeded four hundred million German marks. Germany is the Czech Republic's biggest trade partner and accounts for 36 percent of Czech exports. The main trade articles on both sides include machinery, means of transport, and semi-finished products.

Czech weather report

And finally, a quick look at the weather. It should be mostly cloudy with occasional showers and temperatures between zero and 4 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.