News Saturday, JUNE 05th, 1999

Hello and a warm welcome to Radio Prague. I am Ray Furlong and we begin with the news headlines.

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

President Vaclav Havel has welcomed news that a peace deal looks set to be achieved over Kosovo - stressing, however, that the reported deal has yet to become reality. Havel also emphasised the role of force in achieving the deal. He said in the last ten years Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic had been responsible for a series of wars in the Balkans, and that only military force had now stopped him. He went on to say however that the international community could have taken action long ago and prevented further loss of life. Havel made his comments as the American President, Bill Clinton, said airstrikes could stop in the next few days. The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, also welcomed news of a deal - and said the peace initiative put forward by Greece and the Czech Republic had made a positive contribution to a solution.

The trade union leader Richard Falbr has criticised the government for not doing enough to resolve the deep economic problems faced by Czech Republic. Falbr was speaking after a meeting of the trade union leadership and the government. The Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, said he would wait until later in the summer before evaluating the work of his cabinet so far, but he conceded that work on anti-corruption measures must speed up - this was a key element of his election campaign. Meanwhile, an opinion poll carried out by the respected IVVM agency has found that almost 90 percent of Czechs are dissatisfied with the government approach towards corruption and growing unemployment.

The battle for control over TV Nova, the influential Czech private TV station, has continued with the appointment of a new boss. David Vavra, until now chief editor at the station, has now been made the new director of The Czech Independent Media Company, or CNTS, which runs Nova. He was appointed by the American company CME, which owns CNTS. Vavra replaces Vladimir Zelezny, the controversial media mogul who was dismissed from the post recently. Zelezny, who still holds the broadcasting licence for Nova and various decision-making powers at the station, has reacted immediately to the news of Vavra getting his old job by sacking him from the post of chief editor.

And finally, the NATO military exercises in Vyskov, southern Moravia, have come to a conclusion. A total of 2,000 personnel from 29 NATO and Partnership for Peace countries took part in the exercises, codenamed Co-operative Guard 99. Most of the work was carried out on maps and computers, with the main focus being on the strategic side of planning and conducting a peace-keeping operation in a fictitious country.