News Saturday, OCTOBER 09th, 1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Ray Furlong. We begin the programme with a bulletin of news - first the headlines.

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


The leader of the main opposition Civic Democrats, former prime minister Václav Klaus, has said his party is dissatisfied with the political situation in the country and called for urgent talks with the ruling Social Democrats next week. Klaus said the time had come for a fundamental change, and that the deal under which his party had tolerated the minority Social Democrat government had been aimed at creating political stability - but that the political scene was increasingly unstable. Reacting to the statement, Prime Minister Milos Zeman said he was not surprised by it and was prepared to talk with Klaus at any time.


From this day, 250,000 Czechs living in Slovakia are eligible to regain their Czech citizenship. This was announced by Slovak Prime Minister Mikulás Dzurinda during the final day of his visit to Prague. Dzurinda said that following a decision made by the Czech Parliament during the summer, which allowed Czechs dual citizenship, Slovakia had now taken the administrative measures necessary to give its Czech minority the right to hold Czech passports.


An association representing Czechs forced to work as slave labourers during the second world war has responded to the offer of compensation made by the German government envoy Otto Lambsdorff on Thursday. Lambsdorff said compensation could be paid by the middle of next year - the Association of Forced Labourers said this was too late, but that it was better than the compensation coming any later. Association deputy chairman Karel Ruzicka also said the offer of about 10,000 Deutschmarks for every former slave labourer was a laughably small sum. However, in Berlin a spokesman for the German companies involved in the compensation package said a better offer would not be made.


A three-day conference on the Holocaust, held under the patronage of President Václav Havel, has concluded at the site of the former concentration camp of Terezín in northern Bohemia. The final day of the conference was dedicated to the genocide committed against the gypsy, or Roma population. Speakers warned that the extermination of the Roma was still largely unheard of outside academic circles. In connection with this, the presence of a pig farm on the site of a former camp in southern Bohemia where Roma were worked to death during the war was strongly criticised.


Police in the south Moravian town of Brno have seized over 9,000 items of fake brand-name clothing, after a raid on market traders. Three foreign nationals were arrested during the operation, in which fake jackets, baseball hats and sports clothing were confiscated. A police spokesman said the raid was the most successful yet, and that further ones would follow in the future.


On Saturday, expect cloudy skies and rain, with temperatures between eleven and 15 degrees Celsius - falling to between five and nine degrees overnight. Sunday will see similar conditions, and daytime temperatures between ten and 14 degrees.