News Sunday, APRIL 19th, 1998

Radio Prague E-news date: April 19th, 1998 written/read by Daniela Lazarova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm DL and we begin as usual with a look at the main newsstories this hour

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail

Havel - health

President Vaclav Havel, who is recovering from emergency surgery on his large intestine at the Innsbruck University Clinic, underwent a minor operation Saturday morning to relieve his right lung of a build- up of mucous . The president who underwent cancer surgery on his left lung in 1996, spent a bad night, suffering an air deficiency after part of his right lung became blocked by mucous. Surgeon Ernst Bodner who carried out the bronchoscopy said the president's windpipe was now cleansed and no complications had arisen. He said there was no connection to the earlier surgery on the president's gut, and that the lung problem was not "a major complication" but pointed out that the dangerous phase after such operations lasted seven days, during which abscesses and new bacterial infections could establish themselves. The president has been transferred back to intensive care. In the Czech republic politicians and the public have expressed renewed concern for the President's health. Prayers are being said for his speedy recovery.

PM on privatization

Responding to Parliament's request for his government to halt further privatization of strategic firms, prime minister Josef Tosovsky has said privatization must continue. Tosovsky said his team of ministers must be more than a caretaker government for the Czech economy could not afford the luxury of slowing down or worse still halting privatization. It would undermine the country's ability to compete with its economic rivals, the prime minister stressed, calling Parliament's request " most unfortunate". The ctk newsagency notes that in any case the request has little power since the government has the right to direct state stake sales without parliamentary approval.

Czech prime minister Josef Tosovsky also expressed the belief that a victory of the opposition Social democrats in the upcoming general elections would not fundamentally threaten the privatization process in this country.

Representing the Czech Republic at the spring session of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, Tosovsky told delegates that although the Czech social democrats had a different vision of the country's economic progress to that of the current coalition, they would not be able to secure an absolute majority and would have to accept compromise solutions. Tosovsky said that after last year's serious political crisis things were now looking up. The government's restrictive fiscal policy was having a positive effect albeit at the cost of a lower living standard for Czechs.

FU reveals election strategy

The Freedom Union Party has ruled out the possibility of entering into a broad coalition with the opposition Social Democrats who are widely expected to win the June general elections. Our visions of this country's future are radically different, party leader Jan Ruml told reporters. The Freedom Union on Saturday revealed its election strategy based on slogans such as "we play by the rules" and " don't let us get stuck half way" . Party leader Jan Ruml, who had expressed concern that the party was loosing its initial attraction, said his party would not forget that "politics is a service to the people" and pledged to implement a restriction of the broad parliamentary immunity deputies currently enjoy as well as a strict law pertaining to a clash of interests. Right wing voters now have a new choice, he told Czechs.

And finally a look at the weather here in central Europe: Sunday should be overcast with occasional rain and day temps between 8 and 12 degs C. Nighttime lows 7 to 3 degs.