News Sunday, MAY 14th, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik, and we start the programme with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.


A Czech publisher is issuing the Communist police files of the Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, which allegedly describe his collaboration with the former regime's secret service, the StB.

The newspaper Lidove Noviny reported on Saturday that Votobia Publishers, which several years ago published a marijuana cookbook, will bring out the book on Monday.

Some of the information was previously made public eight years ago by the weekly Respekt, which wrote that the StB had established contact with Mr. Kavan during his study stay in Britain in 1967.

Mr. Kavan has always denied the allegations, and Czech courts have repeatedly confirmed that he did not knowingly collaborate with the StB.

However, Lidove Noviny suggests that the publication of the book may threaten Kavan's appointment as government coordinator for the Czech secret services and could also damage his campaign to defend his Senate seat in the autumn elections.


The United States Embassy in Prague has expressed its regret for an error contained in last year's State Department human rights report. The document contained allegations of illegal searches by the police in the West Bohemian town of Rokycany in the case of a prominent Roma activist and his son.

The embassy said in a statement that as revealed by further investigation the searches in the Gina family had not in fact occurred as reported. It said this was an honest mistake that occurred in the process of compiling information for the report.

America's annual Human Rights Report is based on information compiled by the embassy and State Department, from sources the embassy deems reliable. The embassy said however that it remained concerned about equal protection under the law for all citizens in the Czech Republic, specifically in a number of cases connected to the protection of the rights of the Roma community.


Scores of Roma activists from around the Czech Republic on Saturday gathered in the small South Bohemian village of Lety -- the site of a World War II forced labour camp. Government officials and Roma activists from neighbouring Austria also attended the solemn act of remembrance.

The site of the former camp, administered during the Nazi era by Czech authorities, is still occupied today by a pig farm, which the Roma community wants removed.

Last year, the government turned down its human rights commissioner's proposal that the farm be moved and replaced by an appropriate memorial. The government argued that the project would require large outlays from the state budget.


Dozens of followers of the far-right National Alliance and Patriotic Front on Saturday staged a protest in Karlovy Vary against an ongoing international gay and lesbian festival.

No incidents were reported but National Alliance Deputy Chairman Michal Podolak attacked what he described the cult of American lifestyle, drug abuse, sexual violence, his country's membership in NATO and its bid to enter the European Union. Mr. Podolak lavished praise on Christian Democrat MP Pavel Tollner, a leading crusader against registered partnership of people of the same sex.


Ice hockey -- and in St Petersburg, Olympic champions the Czech Republic stayed on course for their second successive world title after a goalminding error helped them beat Canada two goals to one in a thriller on Friday night.

The Czechs will face Slovakia, who earlier beat Finland 3-1, in a fascinating final on Sunday between the two parts of the former Czechoslovakia. Canada meet the Finns in the bronze medal match. The Czech Republic will host the world ice hockey championships in the year 2003.


And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather, which is causing much concern here in the Czech Republic. It has not rained for nearly two months in some parts of the country and many farmers fear the resulting drought could ruin them.

The weatherman says no rain can be expected for at least one more week. Sunday will be another warm day with daytime highs between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius, dropping to between five and nine degrees in the night.

Monday and Tuesday will be even hotter, with daytime temperatures between 24 and 28 Celsius.