News Saturday, SEPTEMBER 18th, 1999

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail :

Premier admits debating sale of tanks to Yemen

Premier Zeman has confirmed that Cabinet ministers on Wednesday discussed the sale of Czech tanks to Yemen, saying he saw nothing wrong with such a transaction. What we were discussing was a transaction between the Czech Republic and Yemen, Zeman said in response to fears of a possible re-export. Opposition politicians have pointed out that earlier this year Poland sold tanks to Yemen which later ended up in embargoed Sudan. The premier refused to reveal any details of Wednesday's debate, saying it had been a closed session.

President Havel visits Slovakia

On a two day official visit to neighbouring Slovakia President Havel has said he is optimistic that the division of former federal property can be resolved to both states' satisfaction by the end of this year . Speaking at a press briefing in Bratislava following his talks with Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, President Havel said that after a cold period in mutual relations , lost ties and contacts were being re-established. We both want to resolve remaining differences in the division of property as soon as possible and in such a way that neither side feels the loser, the Czech president noted.

Anger over communist propaganda series

Deputy speaker of the Lower House and head of Parliament's Media Committee Ivan Langer has urged the supervisory board of Czech public television to resign after the station featured the first episode of a communist propaganda series on Thursday night. Langer said that if the board members did not resign of their own accord he would take steps to have them dismissed. A storm of protests has broken out over the station's decision to show a thirty-part communist propaganda series portraying the dreaded former communist secret police as heroes. Czech TV's management maintains that together with a documentary and debate the series would be educational and help Czechs come to terms with their past. President Havel has also criticized the airing of the series, calling it a slap in the face of former political prisoners and saying that Czech television had made a stupid and insensitive decision.

UN commissioner to investigate allegations of racism

A UN Human Rights Commissioner is to visit the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania to investigate alleged discrimination of Romanies in these states. According to the ctk news agency the commissioner will be talking both with local government officials and Romany representatives , and visiting Roma homes in order to ascertain in what conditions these people live. In the Czech Republic particular attention is to be paid to the situation in Usti nad Labem where local authorities are planning to build a wall to separate a housing estate inhabited mainly by Romanies from that of its neighbours.


We are told to expect slightly lower temperatures that we've enjoyed throughout the working week. Saturday should bring partly cloudy skies, possibly scattered showers and afternoon highs between 19 and 23 degs C. Sunday's temperatures will range between 20 and 24 degs. C. Nighttime lows 14 to 10 degs C.