News Sunday, OCTOBER 11th, 1998

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm AS and we start with the headlines:

Those were the main points, and now the news in full:


Czech President Vaclav Havel received on Saturday at his residence in Lany outside Prague his Slovenian counterpart Milan Kucan for talks on both countries' entry into the European structures. Head of the Presidential office press department, Martin Krafl, has described the two presidents' encounter as a working meeting, held prior to the Central European summit in Vienna on Monday. Krafl told the CTK news agency that the unscheduled meeting had been arranged over the phone last week. "It is not a state visit," Krafl said, adding that the two heads of state had discussed the eastward enlargment of the European Union, their countries' hopes for a membership of NATO, and the Vienna summit, organized by Austrian President Thomas Klestil, whose country currently holds EU presidency.

State budget

If the draft of the state budget for 1999 is not approved, Czechs might expect foreign investors pull out of the country next year - Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda said in Prague on Saturday after his arrival from Washington. According to him, parliament's approval of the draft is vital, and the deficit cannot be lowered unless higher taxes are introduced. The Social Democrat government has submitted to parliament a draft of the 1999 budget with a deficit amounting to almost 27 billion crowns. Our correspondent says that the Communists are the only party prepared to vote in favour of the budget. The government is convinced, though, that the budget has been compiled in a way which could be acceptable for all parties in parliament.


Meanwhile, the parties in the opposition 4-member coalition, comprised of the Christian Democrats, the Freedom Union, the Civic Democratic Alliance and the Democratic Union, have ruled out the possibility of approving a budget with such a high deficit and imbalances. They are also opposed to the fact that the budget counts on money channelled to the state coffers from laws that have not yet been approved by parliament.


Some 500 Civic Democratic Party candidates for the upcoming Senate and local elections met on Saturday at a pre-election conference in Podebrady east of Prague. Observers have compared the ODS session to a call to arms. The main opposition Civic Democrats of former premier Vaclav Klaus have officially introduced their party's election manifesto, under the motto "Rally Against Hazard".

Murder of a Roma man

A judge in Usti nad Labem has ordered that the man, accused of shooting and killing a Roma man in the town of Varnsdorf in mid-September, be taken into custody. Allia Razdi, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, accused of the murder in his absence at the beginning of October, was in hiding, but reported to a police station on Friday evening, accompanied by his lawyer. Another three Albanians, facing charges of attempted bodily harm are being questioned by the regional investigator in Northern Bohemia.