News Thursday, JULY 16th, 1998

Radio Prague E-news date: July 16th, 1998

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm DL and we begin with a look at the main newsstories this hour

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail


The new lower house of Parliament met briefly for its first session Wednesday opening the way for a new Social Democrat minority government to take office. The process of filling key parliament posts should be concluded by the end of the week, when the interim government of prime minister Josef Tosovsky will hand in its resignation. Shortly after President Havel is expected to appoint Milos Zeman, leader of the Social Democrats, the country's new prime minister. The Social Democrats have 74 seats in the 200 seat lower house. The tacit support of the Civic Democratic Party, the second strongest party on the Czech scene, will enable it to win a vote of confidence.

Opposition talks

Meanwhile, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party Josef Lux and his Freedom Union counterpart Jan Ruml are expected to meet today to discuss a "strategic partnership" in opposition. The two party leaders feel sidelined by what they are calling "a hidden grand-coalition" and have announced that they are going into opposition both against the left-wing Social Democrats and Vaclav Klaus's ODS. Close cooperation is expected in the run up to the Senate elections and there has even been talk of a merger at some point in the future.

Havel -surgery

President Vaclav Havel is to undergo further surgery . A planned operation to remove a colostomy bag, which had to be attached after emergency surgery on the President in April, has been scheduled for July 27th. Professor Ernst Bodner, the chief surgeon who operated on the President in Innsbruck following a rupture of the intestine, will be coming to Prague to perform this last conclusive operation.

Death in Paris

A 42 year old Czech man has died in Paris of injuries sustained in the tragic incident which marred the all-night celebrations of France's soccer victory over Brazil. Around 80 revellers were injured when a car ploughed the crowds. Michael Kopecky, chief executive of Czech confectioner Cokoladovny and a father of three, is the first victim of this tragedy.

Use of force authorised

An inspection team of the interior ministry which was commissioned to look into the police handling of the Global Street party riot on May 16th has concluded that the police did not overstep its powers. The head of the inspection team Jaroslav Stehlik, said that although several people were injured in the police action the circumstances necessitated some use of force for law and order to be restored.

Future Fund -applications

Over 1,200 people have applied for individual assistance out of the Czech-German Future Fund. The joint fund was set up last year to be used for projects that include compensation for Czech victims of the Holocaust. The money is also to be used for youth-exchanges and the promotion of minorities.

Alarms needed

The city council of Olomouc, a region devastated by last years floods, has announced plans to install an emergency public alarm system for Olomouc and a number of nearby villages. The town's mayor, Ivan Kosatik, said he didn't want a repetition of last year when lives and property were at risk simply because people were unaware of the danger. The alarm system will be installed at 30 - 40 different locations and should cost an estimated 10 million Czech crowns.

Need a drink?

Now, on a lighter note, the annual Summer Cocktail Festival will have an open air character this year - and it's about to spill over onto Wenceslas Square. For ten long days the country's best barmen will be mixing cocktails out in the open for passers by to enjoy. They will be offering some of the most exotic cocktails in the world -for the price of sixty Czech crown per drink. The event starts on July 17th and lasts until the 27th, and cocktails will be available at the bottom end of Wenceslas Square from ten in the morning until 10 at night. With a cocktail in hand who needs rose-tinted glasses?

And finally the weather -

Thursday should bring no significant change. Expect partly cloudy to overcast skies and scattered showers. Day temps between 18 and 22 degs. C.