News Sunday, JUNE 27th, 1999

Radio Prague E-News Written/read by: Libor Kubik Date: 27 June 1999

Hello and welcome to the programme. I’m Libor Kubik, first a look at the news headlines.


Czech President Vaclav Havel, who was visiting Austria, on Saturday conferred his country’s highest honour on Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

The head of the Jewish Documentation Centre received the Czech Republic’s Order of the White Lion in recognition of his services in unearthing the crimes against humanity committed during Hitler’s Third Reich.

Havel was in Vienna for talks with Austrian leaders. He arrived on Friday to take part in a conference on the fall of communism.

On Sunday, he will visit Albania and possibly also make a brief trip to the Serbian province of Kosovo.


Havel will be joined in Albania by Czech Defence Minister Vladimir Vetchy, who on Saturday visited Czech troops serving with the SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Vetchy has had talks in Banja Luka with the commanders of the British division to which the Czech mission reports.


The top leadership of the ruling Czech Social Democratic Party has agreed to support a change to the election law which is expected to favour the country’s two largest parties.

Social Democrat chairman and Prime Minister Milos Zeman on Saturday put his plan forward at a conference of the wider party leadership for approval.

The proposal, presented to the Social Democrats’ Central Executive Committee, was prepared by the largest opposition party, the centre-right Civic Democrats. It proposes an increase in the number of voting districts to as many as 36 from the current eight and raising the proportion of votes in individual districts necessary for a party to win a mandate in the 200-seat lower house of parliament.

The plan has met fierce opposition from smaller parties which perceive it as a serious threat to their existence.

The Civic Democrats and the Social Democrats, which is the largest but minority party in the lower house, together hold a commanding majority in both houses of parliament, allowing smooth approval of mutually agreed legislation.

Zeman said his party would demand that the new voting law comes into effect in the year 2002, the next general election year.


Prime Minister Zeman has admitted that his recent charges against a former foreign minister are based on information from a third person.

He admitted that reports about ex-minister Josef Zieleniec’s alleged bribery of news agencies and journalists in exchange for making up his media image had originated in the office of the incumbent Foreign Minister Jan Kavan.

Kavan is now expected to clarify the issue by Monday, when some observers believe Premier Zeman could present some hard evidence to the press.


The Czech Association of Former Political Prisoners on Saturday paid tribute in Prague to hundreds of their colleagues executed during the period of Communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia.

At a solemn act in a Prague cemetery where dozens of victims of Communism were buried in common graves, speakers stressed that not all Communist crimes had been punished and criminals who killed and maimed prisoners are still at large.

Buried at the Dablice Cemetery in northern Prague are the remains of over 240 political prisoners, including 37 children, tortured to death or executed between 1948 and 1959.


Now for a look at the weather.

Saturday was a very hot, sunny day here in the Czech Republic, with temperatures between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius.

The forecast for Sunday is not very encouraging. We expect a cloudy day with frequent local showers and thunderstorms. But temperatures during the day will be fairly high, between 25 and 29 degrees.

I’m Libor Kubik and that’s the end of the news. 3