News Sunday, MARCH 07th, 1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague, the international service of Czech public radio. As usual, we begin with a brief newsbulletin. First the headlines.

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

Havel meets with political leaders

President Havel has met with the leaders of the mainstream political parties on Saturday. They agreed that it is necessary to quickly adopt changes in the Constitution and other legislation to harmonize it with EU standards. President Havel and the leaders of the Social Democratic Party, Freedom Union, Christian Democratic Union and the Civic Democratic Alliance also concluded that it is necessary to reform the state administration and delegate more powers to regional authorities.

The politicians admitted however that they held different views of the causes of the current economic crisis. That is why they did not negotiate on support for new legislation drafted by the Social Democrat minority cabinet.

The meeting was summoned by president Havel who maintains that the current political situation is unsatisfactory. He invited all the political parties represented in the parliament except the Communists, but the senior opposition Civic Democratic Party of Vaclav Klaus refused to take part in the meeting.

Temelin to cost more

The completion of the nuclear power plant at Temelin, South Bohemia, is connected with such risks that stopping its construction would be better than any variant of its completion. This is one of the conclusions made by an expert commission which was set up by the Czech government to asses economic aspects of the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant. The commission also said that the total costs of Temelin could rise by another 12 to 13 billion crowns. So far, the budget exceeded 80 billion crowns. The commission claims that the Czech Republic will not need any new sources of electricity until at leats the year 2010. It also doubts the possibility to sell electricity produced by Temelin on the European market. According to a report worked out by the commission, the completion of Temelin is connected with high risks, so that possible economic losses would be much greater than if Temelin was not completed.

Czech soldiers in Bosnia attacked

A hand-grenade exploded at an outpost of Czech SFOR unit in Bosnia. No injuries were reported. The grenade, thrown by an unknown assailant, damaged the door and windows of the building in the Bosnian town of Priedor where the Czech soldiers resided. They were immediately evacuated to the Czech contingent headquarters in Dolnia Liubia. Local police is investigating the case. There have been speculations that the attack might be connected with an escalation of tension after the removal of the president of the Serbian republic in Bosnia Nikola Poplashen on Friday.

Refugees arrested at Czech-German border

German police have arrested a group of 20 refugees from Pakistan on the Czech German border. These people had left refugee camps in the Czech Republic and tried to illegally cross the border to Germany. They allegedly paid about 400 US dollars each to a Vietnamese citizen who promised to smuggle them to the West. All the 20 Pakistanis were transported back to the refugee camp in Vyshni Lhoty.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. Weather in the Czech Republic has been influenced by a low-pressure area. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers, and snow showers in higher altitudes. Afternoon highs should range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius. Monday and Tuesday it should be much the same, cloudy to overcast with occasional showers, with highest daytime temperatures around 5 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.