News Thursday, NOVEMBER 04th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first the news headlines.

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.

Zeman advisor resigns over extortion allegations

An advisor to Prime Minister Milos Zeman has announced his resignation following accusations of extortion. Jaroslav Novotny had been accused of attempting to blackmail a civil servant into fabricating evidence against the former Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec. Mr Zieleniec has been accused by Mr Zeman and the present Foreign Minister Jan Kavan of bribing journalists, but the two men have failed to produce any evidence to back up their claims. Observers say the accusations are proving highly damaging to the reputation of the Social Democrat government.

Klaus issues fresh call for rainbow coalition talks The opposition Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus has issued a fresh call for talks on creating a new majority government encompassing all of the parties in parliament except the Communists. The centre-right leader was responding to proposals by two smaller opposition parties to hold a vote of no-confidence in the minority Social Democrat government. Mr Klaus, whose party keeps the government afloat under a unique power-sharing agreement, says consensus on a new government must be reached before the minority cabinet can be removed. The other parties have rejected his idea of a rainbow coalition.

Czech Republic ratifies European Social Charter

The Czech Republic has ratified the European Social Charter. The Czech ambassador to the Council of Europe Jiri Mucha handed the ratification protocols to the Council´s General Secretary Walter Schwimmer at a ceremony in Paris. The Charter ensures 19 fundamental social and economic rights, including the right to work for a fair wage and the right to social and health care.

Foreign Ministry planning large-scale EU campaign

The Foreign Ministry is planning a large-scale campaign to increase public support for membership of the European Union. Foreign Minister Jan Kavan told reporters on Wednesday that the aim of the campaign would be to explain to all sectors of society the benefits of joining the EU. Mr Kavan said public support was vital, as EU membership would eventually be decided in a referendum.

Police deny racial motive in attack on Roma family

Police in the central Bohemian town of Kolin have denied that Sunday´s attack on a Roma family was racially-motivated. A radiator was thrown through the window of the family´s flat in the early hours of Sunday morning. The family says they were attacked by skinheads, and that there were children sleeping in the room at the time. A police spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest the culprits were skinheads, and that the attack was in revenge for an earlier incident in a bar.

Green organisation calls for Friday without cars

The environmental organisation Children of the Earth have called on drivers to leave their cars at home on Friday and use public transport instead. Twenty towns around the country have declared their support for Friday´s Day Without Cars, but only in the towns of Hodonin and Zlin will public transport be free.


And we´ll end as usual with a quick look at Friday´s weather. And there will be another foggy start to the day, with the fog gradually giving way to clearer weather by lunchtime. Daytime temperatures will reach a maximum of 11 degrees Celsius, falling to lows of one degree at night.

I'm Rob Cameron and that's the end of the news.