News Sunday, FEBRUARY 13th, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

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

Social Democrat Women To Form Shadow Cabinet

Female members of the Social Democratic Party are going to form their own shadow cabinet in reaction to prime minister Milos Zeman's statement that there is no place for women in his cabinet. Deputy Jana Volfova said the shadow cabinet and its manifesto would be ready within two weeks. She admitted that the plan is more of a joke but pointed out that there are enough female experts in the Czech Republic suitable for ministerial posts. The new shadow cabinet will reportedly include for example the deputy chairwoman of the Social Democratic Party Petra Buzkova and the renowned sociologist Jirina Siklova.

Civic Democrats want cabinet changes before budget approval

The senior opposition Civic Democratic Party would like to see the planned cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Milos Zeman take place before the state budget for this year is approved by Parliament. Civic Democrat deputy leader Petr Necas said that his party saw no reason why the cabinet reshuffle should not take place. The Civic Democratic Party has linked its approval of the state budget in Parliament with changes at certain ministerial posts. Prime minister Milos Zeman has announced these changes, but said they may take several weeks or months. The senior opposition Civic Democrats and the minority ruling Social Democrats are bound by the so-called opposition agreement which divides power in the country between the two parties.

Environmentalists Discuss Protection Of Wetland And Water Streams

Several dozen environmentalists from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands met in the Czech Republic for a two- day seminar to discuss the protection of wetland areas and water streams. The seminar deals with legal aspects of water supply protection including international agreements, as well as with some controversial construction projects on the river Elbe.

Norwegian Defence Minister To Visit Czech Republic

Norwegian defence minister Eldbj`rg Lower is to pay a two-day visit to the Czech Republic next week. The Czech ministry of defence said that besides talks with high-ranking Czech officials in Prague, the Norwegian minister will visit Czech army's infantery headquarters in the city of Olomouc. The main issue to be discussed is the security situation in Europe.

Konsolidacni intends to offer bad loans on the Web

The Czech state-run bailout bank Konsolidacni banka is looking for ways to dispose of 200 billion CZK worth of non-performing loans it took over from Czech companies and banks. It is considering shifting some of the loans to another company and is pinning its hopes on selling part of its non-performing loans over the Internet. A quick sale could significantly boost the economy, the bank says.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. On Sunday, it should be cloudy to overcast with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius. The beginning of next week should also be cloudy with ocassional snow showers, with highest daytime temperatures of up to 5 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.