News Sunday, NOVEMBER 29th, 1998

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Radio Prague E-News Written/read by: Libor Kubik

Welcome to Radio Prague. These are the top Czech stories this hour, now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.

CZECH-EU-PORK

The European Commission has expressed disappointment over the moves by the Czech government to restrict imports of pork from the EU to protect its domestic market.

The EC has cancelled technical consultations with Prague, scheduled for next week, and said it was not sure if the meeting between EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler and Czech Agriculture Minister Jan Fencl would be held on Monday as planned.

The EC says it has not been officially notified of any Czech government decision on pork but denied it had exported excessive amounts.

The Czech government said earlier this week that a preferential import duty of 15 percent on EU pork imports would be scrapped, raising the tariff to nearly 41 percent.

On Friday, the Czech Agrarian Chamber blocked main roads across the country for a few hours in protest against the import of subsidised pork and other products from the European Union.

CZECH-FARMERS-REJECTION

Meanwhile, the rival Czech Farmers' Union has distanced itself from the protests organised by the Chamber.

In a statement released on Saturday, the Union, which represents private farmers, described the protests as an attempt to disrupt stability and prevent this country's accession to the EU.

It said the disruptions had been masterminded by a far-left pressure group with close links to former communist structures.

CZECH-HAVEL-SCOUTS

Czech President Vaclav Havel has sent a message to the world boy scout jamboree to be held next month in Chile.

The president and the First Lady on Saturday received the Czech delegates who will attend the world scout feast.

Havel, himself a former boy scout, praised the jamboree's keynote, "Let's make peace together" and said this amply characterised the mission of the movement.

CZECH-WOMEN-DISCRIMINATE

The Czech Women's Union said on Saturday that women were still largely discriminated against on this country's labour market.

The union said during its meeting in Prague's Kounic Palace that women employees routinely receive 30 percent lower wages than their male counterparts in the same jobs and face discrimination in recruitment.

CZECH-GEORGIA-TANKS

The former Soviet republic of Georgia has indicated it wants to buy 100 tanks from the surplus reserves of the Czech Army.

The French news agency AFP at the weekend quoted a high-ranking official of the Czech Ministry of Defence as saying that the deal could also include spare parts needed for their modernisation.

The agency reports that the Czech Army currently owns about 400 Soviet-era tanks of the T-55 type, built in the sixties and valued at 35,000 dollars apiece.

Georgia would in exchange supply the Czech Air Force with spare parts for 25 Sukhoi SU-25 attack planes which are still in its inventory. They will remain operational until the air force takes delivery of modern L-159 light combat planes of Czech make.

CZECH-NORDIC-SKIING

Skiing -- and the Czech Republic's Katerina Neumannova on Saturday beat Italy's 1992 Olympic gold medallist Stefania Belmondo for top spot overall in the women's five-kilometre event in the finals of the World Cup competition in Muonio, Finland.

CZECH-WEATHER

And finally the weather -- Sunday will be another wet and foggy day. Scattered snow showers will occur across the Czech territory.

Daytime temperatures will be around freezing point, dropping to three below at night.

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