News Sunday, JANUARY 24th, 1999

Radio Prague E-News Date: 23 January 1999 Written/read by: Libor Kubik

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.


The association representing Czechs who were forced into slave labour for German industrial companies during the Nazi period more than 50 years ago has said it will step up pressure to win compensation from the respective firms.

The association with a membership of 40,000 has said it has waited in vain for years for humanitarian assistance from Germany. It accused the German government of discriminating against slave labourers from eastern Europe.

Earlier this month, various organisations of Polish victims of Nazi action in World War II announced that they also intend jointly to make compensation claims against German companies and institutions.


The ruling Czech Social Democrats of Prime Minister Milos Zeman have been meeting in their headquarters in Prague in preparation of their national congress, scheduled to take place in April.

The party's First Vice Chairman Vladimir Spidla told correspondents that the aim of the meeting was short-term political planning.

The Social Democrats formed a minority cabinet after June's parliamentary elections thanks to a non-aggression pact with their chief rivals, the Civic Democrats of Lower House Speaker Vaclav Klaus.

Earlier this week, a shadow cabinet formed by the Civic Democrats accused the government of incompetence.


Tennis -- and defending champion Petr Korda was bundled out of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday by American Todd Martin.

The American hit 29 aces on his way to a 7-5 4-6 7-6 5-7 6-4 win.

The wiry Czech veteran was a popular champion last year after battling through the draw. But he has had the crowd -- and the players -- against him this year after testing positive for a steroid at last year's Wimbledon championships.


Colourfully disguised dancers staged a parade in central Prague on Saturday at the start of the Shrovetide carnival.

The procession was joined by members of 12 ensembles attending a European get-together to mark the start of the carnival season.

Thousands of passers-by watched a lively company of clowns, jugglers and jesters staging a joint performance in Prague's historical Old Town Square.


The National Drug Enforcement Agency disclosed on Saturday it was investigating the theft of 64 kilograms of ephedrine from a pharmaceutical company in Olomouc in the east of the Czech Republic.

Police have imposed a complete news blackout pending further investigations.

But it said masked gunmen had made off on Wednesday with ephedrine whose estimated street value exceeds 55 million crowns -- or about 1.5 million U.S. dollars.


And finally, a look at the weather. Sunday and Monday will be wet and foggy days in the Czech Republic, with nighttime lows between zero and four below and daytime highs between zero and plus five degrees Celsius.

I am Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.