News Saturday, JULY 24th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I am Ray Furlong and we start with the news - first the headlines.

Those are the headlines - now the news in more detail.

Yugoslav opposition to unite, Klaus says

The opposition parties in Yugoslavia are poised to sign a new agreement on a united stand against President Slobodan Milosevic - according to Vaclav Klaus, the chairman of the lower house of the Czech Parliament. Klaus was speaking after a meeting with Vojislav Mihalovic, the mayor of Belgrade and leader of a Yugoslav opposition party. Protest actions against Milosevic have been taking place throughout Serbia for several days, but the main weakness of the opposition has been its internal divisions. Mihalovic, who met journalists separately after his talks with Vaclav Klaus, said the majority of Yugoslav citizens were opposed to Milosevic.

Public figures call for discussion

A petition called Impulse 99, signed by 186 leading public figures, has called for more discussion about the direction Czech society is going in ten years after the fall of communism. Among the signataries were Jiri Pehe, a former advisor to President Vaclav Havel, Tomas Halik, the most well- known Catholic priest in the country, and Martin Jan Stransky, publisher of the monthly political journal New Presence. The petition criticises politicians for not communicating with the rest of society and calls for more debate on the question of European integration.

Mexican-Czechs links to improve

The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has said Czechs could enjoy visa-free links with Mexico by the end of this year. Kavan was speaking after talks with his Mexican opposite number, Rosario Green. At present, Czechs require visas to visit most Latin American countries. Kavan and Green praised the state of bilateral relations, and also spoke of improving trade contacts. Kavan praised the investment by Mexican firm Nemak, which is building a car parts factory here worth 150 million dollars - and he said he hoped it was only the beginning.

Plane crash inquiry indefinitely postponed

The court inquiry into a crash between two MiG-21 fighter jets over the southern city of Ceske Budejovice has been indefinitely postponed. The collission occurred last summer, causing parts of the planes to fall on a heavily-populated housing estate. Miraculously, no-one was killed but several people were injured. The two pilots are accused of criminal negligence, but insist their innocence. The judge postponed the hearing in order to hear two witnesses called by defence lawyers.

Borussia Dortmund to play Teplice

Now football - and Teplice, the surprise runners-up in the Czech league last year, will face mighty Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League preliminary round in August. The draw, made in Geneva, pleased both sides. The German team, which experts say is even stronger than when it won the Champions League in 1997, is happy to be facing what it considers relatively weak opponents. But Teplice officials were also smiling, relishing the prospect of taking on one of the best teams in Europe.


And finally the weekend weather - Saturday will be cloudy with a chance of rain, and with temperatures between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius. Overnight these will fall to between 13 and ten degrees. Sunday will be sunnier, with the chance of storms and temperatures between 23 and 27 degrees.