News Sunday, JANUARY 02th, 2000
Radio Prague E-news Date: 2 January 2000 Written/read by: Libor Kubik
Hello, a very warm welcome to Radio Prague and a Happy New Year 2000. I am Libor Kubik and we begin as usual with the news.
Those were the headlines, and now the news in more detail.
Czech President Vaclav Havel has warned against globalization and the spread of false values at the start of the year 2000.
He said in a nationwide TV and radio broadcast on Saturday that global trade increasingly relying on sophisticated technologies provided a fertile breeding ground for organised crime and terrorism. He said rich nations and huge transnational corporations were having an ever greater effect on world politics and were hampering free economic competition.
Havel spoke 10 years after being elected for the first time as President of the now-defunct Czechoslovak Federation, and a decade after communism was toppled by his country's "Velvet Revolution" in 1989.
Rich states with advanced economies, Havel said, are striving for an ever greater openness of the poor countries' markets while at the same time they are adopting isolationist measures to protect their own business interests.
President Havel was also critical of what he described as mutual alienation between Czech politics and everyday life of the common people. He said disrespect for legal and moral norms, scepticism and selfishness were widespread in Czech public life.
"Let us try to make 2000 a year of change. A change in political culture. A change in public culture. A change in our system of values. A change in the orientation of an individual, a change in our assessment of the value of civic organisations, and of the role and purpose of the state," President Havel declared in his nationwide broadcast to greet the New Year 2000.
The resignation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, announced on Friday, took world capitals by surprise. Initial reaction in several European countries was ranging from praise to expressions of hope that Russia will continue on the path of democratic reform.
Here in Prague, President Vaclav Havel called Yeltsin a politician of historic significance. In a statement released by his office, Havel expressed hope that the constitutional mechanisms in the election of a Russian president would now take effect and that Russia would continue its path towards democracy.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it considers Boris Yeltsin's decision to step down a logical result of Russia's internal political situation and a step to pave the way for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the presidential office.
The Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ales Pospisil said Yeltsin's move had clearly been motivated by his poor health, by the war in Chechnya, and probably also by the outcome of last month's parliamentary election which significantly strengthened Prime Minister Putin's position.
Czechs celebrated the arrival of the new year 2000 in a grand style. Firework displays and laser shows greeted the new year in many places.
President Havel personally joined the jubilating crowd in downtown Prague, addressing pubic service television's audience nationwide and raising a glass of champagne to drink the health of the Czech nation.
No dramatic developments associated with the Y2K problem have been reported thus far. The Czech Republic entered into the new year 2000 without experiencing computer glitches, power blackouts and problems in the banking sphere.
The first Czech baby born in the year 2000 is with all likelihood baby boy Jakub, who is said to have been born one second after midnight in the Kralovske Vinohrady Teaching Hospital in Prague. Jakub's twin brother saw light two minutes later.
Jakub weighed 3,700 grams, and measured 54 centimetres. The first girl of 2000, Natalie, was born in the first minute of the year at Prague's U Apolinaru Clinic.
The Czech Republic has sent eight electric power generators to France in a bid to help overcome the effects of the disastrous storms which left dozens of people dead last week.
A convoy of trucks carrying the generators reached its destination in eastern France on Saturday morning.
The Czech Republic is one of seven countries to have reacted to France's appeal for help.
On Saturday, the Czech Republic's new administrative setup came into force. As of now, the country has 14 regions, including Prague as a separate territorial entity.
The regions will gradually assume some of the powers hitherto exercised by the State. However, regional assemblies will not arise until after the local elections scheduled for next autumn.
Finally -- the correct answer to Radio Prague's listeners competition question for December is -- Jan Hus or John Huss.
And the winners are: Martin Gallas, Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.A.; Bedrich Hrabanek of Queensland in Australia; Kristian Peeters, Loncin, Belgium; Gottfried Pengel of Bergen, Germany; Enrique Garcia Jimenez of Mineral del Monte, Mexico; and for the Internet Team, Pablo de Partearroyo, of Madrid in Spain.
Congratulations to the winners -- and the prizes are on their way to those awarded.
After a cold and wet start of the day, Sunday will be mostly overcast with scattered snow showers. Daytime highs between -2 and +2 degrees Celsius.
Monday's early morning lows between 2 and 7 degrees below freezing, daytime highs around zero Celsius and we expect frequent drizzles and snow showers.
I am Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.