News Sunday, SEPTEMBER 27th, 1998

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Radio Prague E News Written / Read by: Pauline Newman Date: 27.9.98

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. I'm Pauline Newman first we start with a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to Radio Prague. Those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the news in full:

Havel / Lany

Czech President Vaclav Havel said on Saturday afternoon that he went to America last week, mainly to thank Bill Clinton and US congress for their role in NATO's expansion eastward. "I see it as my duty to ensure security for future generations" said Vaclav Havel. He stressed that member states should take in any country which respects and values the principles upon which the NATO was established.

The Czech President was speaking in an interview for Czech radio along with the well known liberal philosopher, Vaclav Belohradsky, who confessed that he was against NATO.

Vaclav Havel said that when he was in Washington, he noticed a fear of Russia, which on Saturday he called "incomprehensible". "I kept hearing about Russia's atomic arsenal, it was as though they did not know that most of those bombs have either gone rusty or are past their sell by date" commented Havel. He added that although he approves of western financial support for the Russian economy, he dislikes seeing money being thrown into a black hole.

ODS / Council

The executive council of the Civic Democratic Party, the ODS, approved on Saturday the text of its election manifesto for the November communal and Senate elections. The manifesto is aimed largely at mobilising people not only against social democratic policies, but also against the opposition parties - the Freedom Union and the Christian democrats.

The party also decided on Saturday, not to vote for the 1999 draft budget, which the Social democrat government wants to push through parliament. A highly placed ODS official said the executive council decided that it could neither tolerate not give its support to a budget which has a deficit of almost 28 billion crowns.

It is expected that the draft will have a tough time making it through parliament, since it has met with steady refusal from all the right wing parliamentary opposition parties.

BIS / Screening

The Czech intelligence service, the BIS, has begun carrying out government instructions and screening possible candidates for the post of director in state or partially state owned companies.

This move comes after a very unclear start which also saw the BIS spokesman removed from his post. According to an agreement between the government and director of the BIS Karel Vulterin, the service is only to check that potential company directors are not blacklisted or "unsuitable" in any way for the post. A more thorough screening will be carried out by individual ministers.

The government's decision to screen the candidates roused a storm of criticism a month ago, from opposition members and security experts, who argued that it was an illegal intrusion.

Tennis / Czech victory

The Czech Republic beat South Africa in straight sets in Saturday's doubles, to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in their Davis Cup qualifying tie.

This has secured a world group place for next year's competition. Jiri Novak and David Rikl strolled to an easy 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory over Wayne Ferreira and Piet Norval in one hour and 37 minutes.

Whatever the outcome of Sunday's reverse singles, the Czech Republic will return to the Davis Cup elite world group next year after this year's first round loss against Switzerland.

And we end as usual with a brief look at the weather:

Sunday will slightly cooler than Saturday, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 22 degrees celsius. Skies will be cloudy and it is possible that there will be some rain towards the evening. It will be quite chilly overnight, with time temperatures dropping to 6 degrees celsius.

I'm Pauline Newman and that's the end of the news.