News Monday, SEPTEMBER 14th, 1998

Radio Prague E-news date: September 14th, 1998

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm DL and we begin as usual with a look at the main newsstories

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail

Budget deficit

The Czech Cabinet has finalized its proposal for the 1999 state budget. Following days of heated debate they settled on an unexpectedly steep deficit of 26,8 billion crowns. Prime minister Milos Zeman told journalists that the extra funds were vitally needed in order to jump-start the economy and support growth. He said the deficit would not have been necessary had his party not inherited an economy in crisis . The opposition has urged a restrictive budget for next year and it is not clear whether this proposal can hope to gain Parliamentary approval.

Kavan supports Radio Free Iraq

Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan has said he would urge the Cabinet to approve Radio Free Europe broadcasts to Iraq. The US government has officially requested Czech government approval for Prague-based Radio Free Europe to launch this service. Radio Free Iran has already been approved and is due to go on the air late September or early October. The planned transmissions became an issue after a number of Czech Cabinet ministers openly opposed them, expressing concern that the Czech Republic would become a terrorist target. Premier Zeman told newsmen the US request would be discussed at one of the Cabinet's upcoming sessions.

Primakov -reaction

The Czech foreign ministry has welcomed the appointment of Yevgeny Primakov to the post of Russian premier. Foreign minister Jan Kavan told the ctk that he hoped Primakov, the seasoned diplomat that he is, would be able to lead Russia out of its political and economic crisis. We welcome any moves that lead to greater stability in the Russian federation , Kavan said. He refused to comment on the possibility of communist representatives in the new Russian government, saying that this was Russia's internal affair.

Primakov -Klaus

Meanwhile the Speaker of the Czech Lower House, Vaclav Klaus, who is currently on a working visit to Russia, emphasized the importance of the country's regaining political stability in order to tackle its economic problems. He said that from this point of view the appointment of Yevgeny Primakov to the post of premier was a relief for everyone. Financial aid from the West -even if it were forthcoming -is not a solution to Russia's problems, Klaus noted, expressing the view that what Russia needed was not Western experts but wide political and public support for a restrictive fiscal policy.

False alarm

The Dejvicka metro station in Prague was closed for most of Saturday morning after police discovered a time bomb-device in one of the toilet litter bins. The station was surrounded by police and ambulances rushed to the spot in case experts were unable to prevent an explosion. Police said later that the device did not contain explosive material and was most likely someone's idea of a joke. Two bin bombings over the past 10 days, have left one person seriously injured and two foreign tourists badly shaken, and police teams are working round the clock to find the culprit.

Finally, a look at the weather:

Monday and Tuesday are expected to be cold and grey with frequent rainshowers or drizzle. Day temperatures have been forecast at between 11 and 15 degs C.