News Thursday, AUGUST 19th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. I'm Pauline Newman, first lets take a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to Radio Prague, those were the headlines, now lets take a look at the news in full:

CNB - Lansky

The Czech National Bank says it has not yet begun investigating the case of deputy Premier Egon Lansky and his foreign bank account. Lansky is suspected of having broken the law by having an account in Austria, allegedly without the permission of the CNB. A spokesman said on Wednesday, that the Czech National Bank is busy sifting through all the information and that it cannot reveal any more without Egon Lansky's permission. The deputy Premier himself has not been available for comment, since he is away on leave.

Passer by - Hooligans

A woman who was seriously injured on Sunday by football fans in Ostrava, is now said to be past the worst of the immediate danger. According to doctors, when she regains consciousness, her treatment will take many months. The thirty-two year old woman was injured on Sunday, when football hooligans hurled rocks at her train as it was passing the platform. One of the rocks hit the woman on the side of her head as she stood by the window. Doctors say the right half of her face has been completely destroyed and she will be brain damaged for the rest of her life. Police in the meantime are trying to find out who the culprits are, but a spokesman told journalists on Wednesday that this is an almost impossible task.

Clean hands - disapointment

Experts say the Social Democrat government's clean hands campaign has so far proven fairly ineffective. Of 200 cases, the investigative group led by Social Democrat Jaroslav Basta has only been able to bring charges against one person, the former Director-General of the Credit and Industrial bank. "Clean Hands" which was one of the key factors in the Social Democrats election campaign, is aimed at cleaning up on corruption and the embezzlement of state funds. State Attorney Marie Benesova on the other hand, has defended the commission, saying that many of the cases have come to light in the last few months. She believes that since it takes police many months to get to the bottom of various crimes, it is likely to be the same with Basta's "Clean Hands" campaign.

Czech aid - Turkey

A team of rescue workers is preparing to leave the Czech Republic on Thursday, for Turkey, to help alleviate suffering after a devastating quake in the Istanbul region. The twenty rescue workers are taking with them tonnes of equipment and dogs. They say that helped by the trained dogs, they will use sophisticated listening devices to detect survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Their 2000 kilometre trek to the worst hit industrial Izmit region, will take them across Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria. In the meantime, France, Germany and Israel have also rushed earthquake rescue experts to the area to help detect survivors.

StB - Bishop

A Prague court is preparing to investigate the case of Jan Dolansky, a former Secret Policeman, who stands accused of having tortured Vaclav Maly, a catholic bishop in 1980. This should be the last hearing, and a sentence is expected to be passed later on in the day. Dolansky, who now works for the largest health insurance company in the Czech Republic, has admitted to having questioned the Bishop, but says he never physically hurt him. Vaclav Maly, is claiming that he had to stand with his back against the wall, while Dolansky beat him all over.

Gypsy king - death

The King of the Olas Romanies has died at the age of seventy-two. The Olas Romanies originally come from Rumania and are completely loyal to their king. It is a closed society, which allegedly does not communicate much with other Romanies, and has over a million members, scattered all over various countries of Europe. Josef Smolka, who was the chief of the community, died in Ostrava on Wednesday morning. His death was reported by the Government's commission for Romany affairs. The Olas Romanies have their own legal system and court of law, which hands out fines to offenders. The worst punishment is complete excommunication. An interesting feature of this society is that the members love gold and believe in the afterlife. When someone dies, relatives fill the coffin with jewellery, holy pictures and sometimes even alcohol!

Finally, the Czech Republic scored a three nil victory yesterday evening in a friendly match with Switzerland. Although the home team won, there were moments when football fans began screaming abuse at the players and the authorities feared another outbreak of hooliganism, similar to Sunday's. According to reports, the problems died down when the Czech team gave their first goal.

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

Thursday will see a continuation of the cloudy, muggy weather we've been having over the last few days. Temperatures will reach 25 to 26 degrees Celsius, dropping to 10 degrees Celsius overnight.

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