News Sunday, FEBRUARY 06th, 2000


An opposition senator has criticised this country's former prime minister for describing the planned EU sanctions against Austria as meddling with Vienna's internal affairs.

Senator Michael Zantovsky from the small Civic Democratic Alliance said on Saturday that Lower House Speaker Vaclav Klaus's attitudes were disastrous and that he was totally ignorant of present-day political challenges.

Mr. Zantovsky said the Lower House should commit its speaker by a resolution to not expressing himself on foreign policy matters.

Mr. Klaus, leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party, is a frequent critic of the European Union. He has backed Austria's new Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel in a row over the inclusion of Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom Party in the new Austrian government.

Mr. Klaus has said in a letter to Mr. Schuessel that the EU's threat to isolate Austria over the Freedom party's joining the cabinet pointed to dangers in the development of European integration.


A former Czechoslovak foreign minister who helped cut barb wire fences on the border with Germany 10 years ago is contemplating to run for a Senate seat as an independent candidate on the Social Democrat ticket.

Mr. Jiri Dienstbier, Prague's human rights envoy in the former Yugoslavia, was reported on Saturday to have reached an agreement with the ruling Social Democrats on running in the Mlada Boleslav constituency near Prague.

Mr. Dienstbier, a former anti-Communist dissident, was one of the founding members of the Civic Forum -- the organisation which stood at the cradle of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution more than one decade ago.


The Czech political establishment was largely satisfied on Saturday with the resignation of the boss of the National Property Fund, the government agency which oversees the sale of state-owned property.

The Fund's chairman Jan Stiess stepped down on Friday only hours before he would have been dismissed because of allegations that his political vetting certificate may have been forged.

In the early 1990s, all state employees were required to produce evidence that they had not been implicated with the political police of the former communist regime.

The Ministry of the Interior said earlier this month that Mr. Stiess's clean-slate certificate was a naive forgery.


A few hundred deaf and hard-of-hearing protesters from around the Czech Republic on Saturday staged a demonstration in Prague's Old Town Square to highlight alleged lack of government subsidies to their organisation.

The protesters, meeting under the keynote "We can't hear you but we are here", were supported by the Senate Chairwoman as well as a member of parliament for the ruling Social Democrats.

The protesters fear that radical subsidy cuts may lead to closing many institutions and places where they can meet.


A longtime former director of a prestigious Prague surgical clinic was knighted on Saturday in a ceremony at the Prague Castle.

Professor Bohuslav Niederle, who led the surgical team of the Motol University Hospital from the late 1940s till mid-seventies, will be 93 next month. He worked to promote Motol's status to that of a leading European medical institution.

A prolific author of books on medicine, Professor Niederle was an anti-Nazi resistance fighter during World War II.


More than 3,000 yapping contestants are attending this year's dog fair in Brno, which opened on Saturday. By Sunday, the Czech Republic biggest barking pageant will know the name, race and pedigree of its national champion for the year 2000.

Among the unusual competition categories cultivated in Brno is one for the most beautiful canine couple. There will be also a performance thrown in by Austria's famous dancing dogs.


Tennis -- and the Czech Republic nosed 2-1 ahead of Britain in their Davis Cup world group first round clash on Saturday winning the doubles match 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-2.

In the North Moravian city of Ostrava, Czech Jiri Novak and doubles specialist David Rikl beat Tin Henman and 33-year-old Neil Broad on a slow, purpose-built clay court inside the city's Winter Stadium.

The Czechs now need only win one ofr Sunday's two reverse singles to advance to the quarter-finals.


And finally, the weather.

On Sunday, warm southwestern air will continue to pour into the Czech Republic. That'll bring us a very fair weather with only scattered showers, nighttime lows between zero and four degrees Celsius and daytime highs between an unseasonable eight and 12 degrees.

Monday will spoil the show with a cold front, a wet morning and progressively also snow showers at higher elevations. But daytime temperatures should stay basically above freezing point.

I am Libor Kubik and that's the news.