News Monday, OCTOBER 26th, 1998

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Welcome to Radio Prague, I am Libor Kubik. Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail.

CZECH-BOSNIA-HELICOPTER

The Czech Army command on a peace-keeping mission in Bosnia Herzegovina says it has lost contact with one of its helicopters carrying out a surveillance mission.

The command said contact was lost on Sunday evening in heavy weather conditions.

CZECH-AUSTRIA-CONTROVERSY

Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Sunday he was not going to explain to anyone why he had decided to remove Vienna's former mayor from the list of recipients of high state awards to be handed out on the 80th anniversary of his country's independence on Wednesday.

The former mayor of Vienna, Helmuth Zilk, was one of the nominees for the prestigious White Lion Order, the top Czech distinction awarded to foreign nationals.

But reports in Monday's Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily suggested that Zilk was an informer of the Czechoslovak communist secret police in the 1950s and 60s. According to this Munich-based paper, Zilk's collaboration led to a large number of arrests and earned him a reward of 66,000 Austrian schillings from the Czechoslovak police.

Mr Zilk denies any wrongdoing and says he will seek an explanation and proof from Havel.

Cabinet Minister without Portfolio Jiri Basta said the president's move could seriously impair relations between the Czech Republic and Austria.

CZECH-IRAN-US-RADIO

Iran has warned that the Farsi broadcasts from Prague by the American Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which are scheduled to commence on October 30, will put a strain on Tehran's relations with Prague and may be detrimental to Czech interests.

In an interview to the AFP news agency on Saturday, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman accused the United States of meddling with Iran's internal affairs by financing anti-Iranian propaganda.

HAVEL-BRITAIN-BBC

Czech President Vaclav Havel told BBC Television on Sunday that communism was dead in eastern Europe. But he warned that authoritarianism could still rear its head.

Speaking after his visit last week to Britain, Havel said it was impossible for communism to be revived in the former east bloc. He said the development of eastern Europe was irreversible. But he warned there were a lot of other dangers and it was a big challenge for all politicians to build a new order.

Havel said that although there could be some more authoritarian regimes especially in some countries he thought that to go back to communism was completely impossible -- also in Russia, he added.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, Havel said he tried to do everything that he was able for his country, for Europe and the world for future generations.

CZECH-US-ANNIVERSARY

Senate Chairman Petr Pithart arrived in Washington on Sunday at the start of a visit at the invitation of America's expatriate Czech communities.

He is supposed to attend ceremonies marking the 80th foundation anniversary of an independent Czechoslovak state in 1918.

Mr Pithart will also visit the House of Representatives, the Masaryk Club in Boston, the Czech Centre and other institutions run by America's Czech community.

CZECH-STEEL-BANKRUPT

The troubled Czech steel company Poldi Ocel of Kladno said on Sunday its 16 hundred employees will not receive any compensations at least until Christmas because the company is broke.

Poldi Ocel went into liquidation last year after years of mismanagement and poor sales. Poldi's receiver Tomas Pelikan told correspondents that the company owes its staff about 88 million crowns in arrears and withheld wages.

CZECH-TENNIS

Tennis -- and American second seed Andre Agassi wins the one- million-dollar IPB Czech Indoor tournament in Ostrava.

In a dramatic final match on Sunday, Agassi beat Slovakia's Jan Kroslak 6-2 3-6 6-3.

CZECH-WEATHER-STORM

A violent storm caused widespread damage in Jesenik District in the northeast of the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Hundreds of households were left without electricity due to a severe damage the storm caused to power supply lines. The local utility company said entire villages had been cut from power. But the company said the hospital in the town of Sumperk was functioning normally.

CZECH-WEATHER REPORT

Talking about the weather, colder air will continue to pour into the Czech Republic early in the week. We expect a cold and wet start of the week, with snow showers at higher elevations.

Nighttime lows will be between zero and six degrees Celsius, and the maximum daytime temperatures will be around 10 Celsius.

I am Libor Kubik and that's the news.