News Monday, SEPTEMBER 21st, 1998

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Radio Prague E-News date: September 21, 1998, 0900 UTC written/read by: Libor Kubik

Welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik in Studio 20 and we begin as usual with a brief news update on Czech affairs.

CZECH-INTERIOR-CORRUPTION

The Czech Ministry of the Interior has outlined a timetable for the anti-corruption campaign known as "Clean Hands."

Czech Public Television and the Lidove Noviny daily have now disclosed that the Social Democratic drive to stamp out economic crime envisages a sweeping new legislation and the forming of several new institutions.

The government plans to set up a special anti-corruption team and a vast networks of agents and informers licensed to pose as would-be bribe-givers. It also wants all financial transactions over half a million crowns to be carried out solely by electronic means.

CZECH-GOVT-BUDGET

The minority Czech Social Democrat cabinet is considering the possibility of linking next month's parliamentary debate of its deficit draft budget for next year with a motion of confidence.

Vice Premier Pavel Mertlik on Sunday told Czech Radio that he sees this move as a way of convincing the House of Deputies about the need to endorse the draft.

But his cabinet colleague Vladimir Spidla had said earlier that he would not comment on this option. He said he was optimistic the House will pass the budget even with a deficit of nearly 27 billion crowns.

The Social Democrats only hold 74 seats in the 200-member lower house of the Czech parliament.

CZECH-EASTTIMOR-NOBEL

A leading champion of East Timor's independence has paid homage to the victims of Czech and Slovak struggle against Communism and said he believed that his country will be free from Indonesian rule within two or three years.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Manuel Ramos Horta on Sunday lay flowers to a memorial to Jan Palach and Jan Zajic -- two Czech students who burned themselves to death in January 1969 in protest against the Warsaw Pact invasion and Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia 30 years ago.

Mr Horta, a former foreign minister of East Timor, appealed to President Havel to use his enormous international authority to exert pressure on Indonesia to end its occupation of his country.

CZECH-BROADCASTING-CONFERENCE

Media regulation in the environment of rapidly advancing digital broadcasting technologies was the main topic of discussion at a two-day Transatlantic Dialogue forum, which ended in Prague on Sunday.

Also discussed were media developments in central and eastern Europe, freedom of electronic media, electronic trading on the Internet and the protection of intellectual property.

The conference was jointly sponsored by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Ministry of Culture.

CZECH-JEWISH-NEWYEAR

Members of the Czech Jewish community and guests from a number of countries have been holding services in Prague's Pinkas Synagogue to greet Rosh Hashanah -- the advent of the Jewish new year 5759.

Activists of the open Jewish community Bejt Praha said the congregation will meet again later this month and in early October to celebrate Yom Kippur -- the Day of Atonement.

The two holidays are spanned by ten days of fasting and repenting.

CZECH-TOWN-CRIME

The district judge in the north Bohemian town of Decin on Sunday took into custody an ethnic Albanian man from Kosovo, one of the gang who shot dead a 33-year-old Romany in the nearby community of Varnsdorf last week.

He was identified by the police as one of the men who fired shots during a conflict with members of the local Roma community.

The police said they were holding another two Albanians and were pressing charges against eight people.

The victim, Jiri Bily, was buried in Varnsdorf on Saturday. The funeral, attended by hundreds of Romanies and a substantial police force, passed without incidents.

CZECH-RUN

Sports news now -- and Michal Jeranek from Dukla Prague and Jana Klimesova of USK Prague on Sunday became Czech road- running champions when they placed fourth and second in their respective categories of the traditional Prague to Bechovice race.

The ten-kilometre race which counts towards the Czech Runners Cup was won, in the men's category, by Slovak Robert Stefko. The women's race was won by 17-year-old Czech junior Helena Volna.

CZECH-WEATHER

Finally, the weather.

At the start of the week, a high pressure area will bring us a warmer weather, but also some scattered showers. Daytime highs on Monday will be from 15 to 19 Celsius, and on Tuesday between 15 and 21 degrees.

And that's the end of the news.