News Saturday, SEPTEMBER 04th, 1999

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CZECH-POLITICS-ODSM M The leadership of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party, or ODS, has said it made mistakes in the campaign for last weekend's Prague by-election to the Senate - where independent candidate Vaclav Fischer received over 70 percent of the vote, soundly defeating the ODS candidate in what's considered a party stronghold. A statement issued by the leadership says the result was an enormous failure by the party. Speaking to journalists, ODS leader Vaclav Klaus said the result meant the start of intensive debate inside the party about the direction it would take in the near future - but he did not react directly to calls by some inside the ODS to stop tolerating the minority Social Democrat government. M

CZECH-POLITICS-CONFLICTM M The Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, has refused to apologise to former foreign minister Josef Zieleniec - who he accused of bribing journalists when in office. On the contrary, Zeman said there were grounds for believing Zieleniec committed criminal acts and abused state funds during his time at the ministry, and that impartial investigations would reveal the truth. On Thursday, Zieleniec called on premier Zeman to apologise for his allegations - because he had been unable to provide any proof since making them. A full report on the affair can be heard after this bulletin of news. M M CZECH-TURKEY-RESCUERSM M A team of Czech rescue workers has returned from Turkey, after two weeks trying to find survivors in the areas hit by last month's earthquake. The team, made up of 19 people and three dogs, M M CZECH-WHEELCHAIR-RECORDM M A Czech man has set a new world record for the distance travelled in an electric wheelchair. Sixty-one-year-old Josef Bartosek travelled 2,105 kilometres in 30 days, completing his journey on Prague's Old Town Square on Friday morning. After receiving a bunch of flowers and a kiss from his wife Tereza, he told journalists he would keep going if he could. He said his marathon around the roads of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary and Austria was an attempt to show that disabled people could also achieve great feats.