News Sunday, SEPTEMBER 06th, 1998

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


The Social Democrat government of Prime Minister Milos Zeman has failed to reach an agreement on the shape of next year's state budget.

It was unclear after a closed-door government meeting at Kolodeje Castle outside Prague at the start of the weekend if the budget is to be balanced, as proposed by Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda, or with a deficit, as favoured by some of his party colleagues.

Saturday's Pravo wrote that the meeting nearly ended in disarray, with several cabinet ministers threatening to resign.

The government must present the draft in parliament by the end of this month.

Trade Unions say they will make comments on the budget during Monday.


The opposition Czech Christian Democrats say they are concerned over escalating verbal attacks on President Vaclav Havel and the accusations of plotting to change the political system, levelled against him by some officials of ex-premier Klaus's Civic Democratic Party.

Christian Democrats leader Josef Lux on Saturday told his party's national conference outside Brno that Havel was a recognised international authority and a man always truthful to his ideals and persuasions.

A Civic Democrat Senator, Vaclav Benda, has recently told a leading Czech paper that the Prague Castle might be hatching a plot to change the political establishment.

The party's spokesman Vaclav Musilek on Saturday admitted to Czech Radio that relations between the president and the main opposition party were cooling off.


In neighbouring Germany, Bavaria's Premier Edmund Stoiber on Saturday renewed his criticism of Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman over his remarks a few weeks ago, which questioned the presence of the Sudeten German lobby group in the steering committee of the Czech-German Discussion Forum.

Stoiber said Zeman's comparing Sudeten Germans to extremist Czech parties presented a huge problem.

Stoiber told the Passauer Neue Presse daily that Zeman has not yet grown to be a politician on an international scale. But he said he would try to revive Czech-German dialogue after Bavarian state elections later this month.


Czech Communist Party leader Miroslav Grebenicek on Saturday attacked the two strongest parties -- the Social Democrats and the ODS -- for what he described as partitioning state power between the two of them.

Grebenicek told a rally of about 4,000 sympathizers at Kuneticka Hora near the eastern Bohemian town of Pardubice that the country's economic situation is critical.


Around 5,000 former political prisoners on Saturday met at the Svaty Hostyn pilgrimage shrine near Kromeriz in Moravia.

Former inmates of Communist prisons and labour camps criticised the absence of government and parliamentary officials at their annual meeting.


The 47-year-old man, who was seriously wounded after a dustbin exploded late on Thursday on a street in central Prague, has now been identified as an amateur pyrotechnist.

The Prague police said the man's home was searched on Friday and two boxes of undisclosed chemicals were found.

The police said it seemed likely that the man himself was to be blamed for his injuries.

Vladimir Jiricek suffered burns to 50 percent of his body, including the lungs, and had both legs amputated in hospital.

His condition at the weekend was described as unstable.


Sports now -- and on the first day of the Canoeing World Championships in Szeged, Hungary on Saturday, Canada's Steve Giles pipped the Czech Republic's Olympic champion Martin Doktor to first place in the men's canoe.

Football -- and from the under-21 results in Brussels, the Czech Republic beat Belgium two goals to nil on Saturday. The scorers were Marek Jankulovski and Tomas Dosek.

Tennis -- and Czech player Jana Novotna is still flying high from her Grand Slam breakthrough at Wimbledon this summer. But she is still looking for more mountains to climb, starting with the U.S. Open.


Finally, the weather report:

We are facing a wet Sunday in the Czech Republic, with scattered thunderstorms and morning fogs. The weatherman warns that there could be torrential rains later in the day.

Maximum daytime temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius, cooling off to under 10 degrees in the night.

And that's the end of the news.