News Sunday, JUNE 07th, 1998

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm AS. First the headlines:

The Social democrat leader promises to tackle economic crime if his party wins the elections

President Vaclav Havel was awarded the Vestfalian Peace Prize in Germany

and Czech senators are ending their visit to Israel and the autonomous territories.

Those were the main points and now the news in detail:

The leader of the opposition Social democrats, denouncing what he called an "economy of mafias" has pledged to clean it up if his party wins power in this month's parliamentary elections. Milos Zeman said the country's post-communist transformation has failed because of cronyism and a boom in economic crime which had been tolerated by the government. Zeman, whose party enjoys a comfortable lead in recent opinion polls and is likely to head the next cabinet, said that his party would begin its term with an "Italian-style clean hands campaign". Opinion-polls prior to the June 19,20 elections indicate the Social democrats will emerge as the strongest party but that building a parliamentary majority will be difficult because of the fractious political scene and proportional voting system.

Czech president Vaclav Havel was awarded on Saturday the newly established Vestfalian Peace Prize in the historical German town of Munster. With the president recuperating from an emergency abdominal operation, the prize was accepted on his behalf by the first lady, Dagmar Havlova. The prize was also awarded to a Basque youth peace movement, Gesto por la Paz, from the Spanish city of Bilbao. The Vestfalian Peace Prize is being awarded for the first time this year, on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the Vestfalian Peace agreement, signed in Munster, which ended the 30 years war in Europe back in 1648.

A delegation of Czech senators headed by chairman of the Czech Upper house, Petr Pithart, is ending its visit to Israel and the autonomous territories on Saturday. Pithart told the CTK reporter that after having heard opinions on the Middle East peace process from Israeli president Ezer Weizman and premier Benjamin Netanyahu, the Czech senators also want to hear the Palestinian standpoint. "We don't want to hear arguments from only one side," said Pithart. "If the Palestinian representatives call on us to endorse the integration of their young parliamentarism into world organizations, then we have all reasons to promise them our support in this respect," Pithart noted.

I'm AS and that's the end of the news.