News Sunday, APRIL 16th, 2000

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These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Hundreds of people demonstrate to support striking miners

Several hundred people demonstrated on Saturday to support the demands of miners from the brown-coal mine Kohinoor in Northern Bohemia. 48 miners went on strike more than two weeks ago and have been refusing to come out from the mine. They fear that the mine will be closed down and they will lose jobs in a region with a more than 20-percent unemployment. The demonstration was peaceful and demonstrators expressed support to a quick sale of the mine. They also called for the resignation of the chairman of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions and the Senator for the region, Richard Falbr. Falbr had described the miners' strike as nonsensical and questioned the intentions and credibility of the company SHD-Peel which is interested in buying the mine but reportedly has no capital to invest. The striking miners are pinning all their hopes to SHD-Peel and have been ignoring all warnings.

Czech police arrest international criminal

Czech police have arrested an internationally wanted criminal, a Ukrainian national who is suspected of embezzling half a million USD. The man has been hiding in the Czech Republic for half a year. The 43-year old man is a former senior official of the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance. He allegedly transferred the money from the treasury to his private bank account in another country. Czech police said they have already arrested 4 internationally wanted criminals from the former Soviet Union this year.

New Komercni bank CEO comments on the bank's privatisation

The newly elected chief executive officer of Komercni banka, the only remaining state-owned bank, admits that the privatisation of the bank could be completed later than by the end of this year as planned. The new Komercni banka head, Radovan Vavra, said the bank could be privatised this year, but that the quality of the process had priority over its speed. Vavra was elected Komercni Banka's new general director last week but will assume the office next Wednesday. Vavra replaced Jan Kollert, who resigned in February after it came out that Komercni Bank lost several billion Czech crowns in dubious financial transactions with an Austrian firm. Vavra said it was urgent to make structural and organisational changes, improve internal communication and solve many technical problems. The Ministry of Finance will call a public tender for the state's stake in Komercni in May and the tender winner should be announced by the end of this year.

Ibl: trade in women and corruption the biggest problems

Trade in women and corruption are the Czech Republic's biggest problems as far as international organised crime is concerned, Czech deputy interior minister Petr Ibl told journalists in Vienna where he was attending the 10th U.N. conference on crime prevention and prosecution of criminals. He explained that trade in women was really serious because the Czech Republic was a target, source as well as transit country. Ibl said that in early 1990's, there were only foreign criminal organisations operating in the Czech Republic, but later they established links with domestic organised crime and in recent years, purely Czech criminal organisations emerged. Ibl told the conference that some 75 organised crime groups operated in the Czech Republic last year, of which 20 percent were purely domestic, and that all these groups combined had some 2000 members.

Holocaust Museum has complete archive of Roma concentration camp

The U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. has received the complete archive of a concentration camp for Romanies, that existed in Lety, Southern Bohemia, during World War II. The Helsinki Committee of the U.S. Congress has made the documents publicly accessible for study purposes. The archive has been handed over from the Czech Republic in parts since 1994.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. Weather in the Czech Republic on Sunday will be influenced by a high pressure area from the West. We are expecting a partially cloudy day with afternoons highs between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius. Monday should be rather cloudy with scattered showers especially in western parts of the country. The highest daytime temperatures should reach from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.