News Monday, OCTOBER 04th, 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.

Havel speaks against changes in constitution

President Havel considers the proposed changes in the Czech constitution as dangerous and not very well thought out. The changes proposed by the ruling Social Democrats and the main opposition Civic Democrats newly define the procedure of appointing new premier after general elections, the president's right to pardon criminals and the way of appointing Czech National Bank board members. Havel said some of the changes were minor issues that could be subject to discussion, but he criticized the change that would force the president after elections to name the leader of the winning party as a new prime minister. This, in Havel's opinion, would limit the president's autonomy in situations when members of government and parliament are replaced. The president's role in these situations is one of the main reasons for a parliamentary democracy to have one, Havel stressed.

ODS denies personal motives for constitutional changes

Civic Democratic Party deputy leader Libuse Benesova denied allegations that the proposed constitutional amendments stemmed from Vaclav Klaus's personal animosity towards president Havel. She ruled out any personal undertones behind the proposal, because the changes will not affect Havel but future presidents. She also cited recent opinion polls which indicated that for example 67 percent of Czechs agree with the limitation of the president's right to grant clemency.

Millennium bug campaign to start Monday

The State Information System Office is launching a massive information campaign to prevent crisis situations and possible damage connected with the computer calendar rollover to the year 2000. In the first wave of the campaign, some three hundred thousand CD-ROMs with all necessary information will be handed out as a newspaper supplement and at the INVEX computer technology trade fair. In the second wave later this month, every Czech household will receive a pamphlet containing ten measures to take in order to prevent their computers from crashing.

Police takes action against neo-nazi skinheads

The Czech police has taken action against a gathering of several dozen neo-nazi skinheads who shouted nazi slogans and did the nazi salute in a pub in Prague's Smichov district. They also attacked and injured a human-rights activist. The skinheads allegedly gathered to celebrate one of their mates' birthday but the human rights group Movement for Civic Solidarity and Tolerance said that the skinheads most likely met to commemorate the death of the founder of the British organisation Blood and Honour, Ian Stuart Donalds.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. Tuesday and Wednesday should be much the same, mostly cloudy with showers. Nighttime lows will drop to around 5 degrees Celsius, the highest daytime temperatures will remain below 15 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.